An exercise in managing the unforeseen
A crisis is a disruption. It means managing the unforeseen, and yet, in general, all the factors contributing to a crisis are present in the existing structure. The first difficulty is to accept reality or not to deny reality.
It is almost impossible to talk about methodology in crisis management because of its very nature: it is unforeseen and complex – these are the only constants. Even the terms “management” and “crisis” could be antithetical, and yet…
It is imperative to be aware of theory on the subject because, although is it based essentially on past errors, it provides a basis for what must be remembered, so that seemingly new phenomena confronting a structure are not confused with previous phenomena that the organization has forgotten about.
The necessary stages are well-established:
- Face up to the situation,
- Avoid immediate self-criticism (searching for the initial cause is prejudicial to the search for a solution if the search for the cause comes first),
- Accept human weakness,
- Take on board the difficulty of managing the group,
- Anticipate the weakness of the decision-maker,
- Understand the weakening of the structure,
- Assimilate new stakeholders,
- Integrate the sensationalist aspect of modern media,
- Detect malice and its legal corollary.
However, apart from these necessary stages, the approach to crisis management must be able to adapt itself to the reality of the group of men and women involved. There is no one answer to these issues. Over the years, in all the missions, situations, consultancies and assistance that our teams have been involved in, no two solutions have ever been identical.
The ability of organizations to accept disruption and to survive it by adapting is what determines our actions with regard to our clients. This is what has built up our working methods in terms of analysis, audit, consultancy and assistance in crisis management and has led us to act in ways that are more discreet than others, and yet which are without doubt more efficient and more durable.