Preparing for crisis



Episode 1 of 5


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“What will make a really effective leader is to understand what type of leadership style to adopt in the situation you are presented with”. / Extract of Episode 2 of 5: “Leadership”.


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00:00:17 [Dr David Rubens]: If we’re to understand the nature of risk, it seems to me that we have to understand the concept of complexity.
00:00:27 [Dr David Rubens]: The world we’re living is becoming more complex. The threats and risk we’re facing are more complex and the solutions that we need to develop are also becoming more complex.
00:00:43 [Rosanna Voulters]: Ultimately what I think is that organizations need to plan for multiple different risks because whenever a crisis hits it could be any one or any number of different risks that threaten that organization. So actually the important thing is about building a depth and breadth of capability.
00:01:08 [Dave Cope]: The way I consider this, I think risk management is quite often, uh, it’s a very structured and quite often centralized process within organizations.
00:01:16 [Dave Cope]: It’s well managed, it’s well understood and used for reporting those risks and mitigating when you talk about reassurance to the Board, trustees, and uh, sponsorship.
00:01:31 [Dave Cope]: I think what’s often less well understood is how we manage the kind of emerging issues, those sort of slow burn risk issues; and misunderstood, maybe for a number of reasons, that there might not be a real clarity in who owns that.
00:01:47 [Dave Cope]: I think crisis management, and the alarm with risk management, is crisis management has always waited until the fire starts, if you like, and that’s the analogy. We’re always waiting to put out fires,
00:02:00 [Dave Cope]: whereas I think if we got better, and perhaps an area that crisis management needs to move into, would be to address these emerging issues. These that don’t have strict ownership and it’s important that on this that the teams understand and have autonomy to be able to to address and manage those issues.

00:02:20 [Alison Burrell]: So McDonald’s was a really good example of a business that saw an issue on the horizon, that was the obesity crisis, and they got straight on to adapting their menus to having healthier choices.
00:02:35 [Alison Burrell]: They put in programs at schools for fitness and active camps and instead of becoming the poster child for obesity, which they could quite easily have become, they actually got ahead of the game and addressed that issue very early on.
00:02:52 [Rob Walley]: In our experience, organizations are really conditioned by their experience of risk that they have experienced as an organization or that they’ve seen on the news.
00:03:00 [Rob Walley]: Our starting point is to try and work with them to understand the real risks that could cause a high impact low likelihood event to really disrupt their organization.
00:03:13 [Steve Hather]: Social media has essentially increased the impact of a crisis to most companies. Studies show that an average cost of a crisis in 2000 was about 10 million dollars and that 25 percent of companies that the cost of a crisis is more like 100 million dollars.
00:03:33 [Steve Hather]: A recent study released last year by Aon and Pentland Analytics shows that the cost of a crisis has actually doubled, and the primary reason behind that is social media.
00:03:48 [Rosanna Voulters]: One of the things that we found is that, generally, over time depending on what clients are concerned about after they’ve put in a lot of planning and a lot of investment and a lot of time to think about certain risks, they actually start to feel more confident in how they can respond to and manage those risks.
00:04:04 [Rosanna Voulters]: People have been spending a lot of time and putting a lot of investment into cyber preparedness and what we’ve seen over the years is that confidence is increasing around how they can respond to those types of crises.
00:04:18 [Dr David Rubens]: The thing about risk is traditionally it’s been based on a historical perspective. We’ve looked at things that have happened in the past and from there we’ve projected into the future. And it’s possible that those problems or those risks could get greater or more severe.
00:04:33 [Dr David Rubens]: But there’s been a rational and logical projection. I think that the question we need to ask ourselves today is whether the nature of the risks that we are seeing are changing so radically that that historical perspective no longer works.
00:04:50 [Dr David Rubens]: Are we seeing a mutational change? The risk and threat we’re facing are mutating to such an extent that the frameworks and protocols and understanding that we’ve developed in previous generations simply do not work.

Interviewees in alphabetical order


Robyn Berry
Project Manager
RW Consulting Solutions Limited
Alison Burrell
Associate Director – Communications
NYA International
Dave Cope
Crisis Manager
Group Corporate Security

Steve Hather
Tim Lambon
Director Crisis Response
NYA International
Dr Nicola Power
Lecturer in Psychology
Lancaster University
Dr David Rubens
Executive Director
Institute of Strategic Risk Management

Katie Ruff
Operations Manager
RW Consulting Solutions Limited
Rosanna Voulters
Senior Manager
Reputation, Crisis & Resilience
Deloitte LLP
Rob Walley
RW Consulting Solutions Limited