I was reminded last weekend about the importance of preventative and contingent actions to sustain profitable growth and the uncertainty all managers must navigate through. When a crisis happens, there are leaders and businesses who excel (Johnson & Johnson) and others, who fail very publicly (UBS, RSA, Malaysia Airlines). Organisations prepare for the impact of natural disaster (wind, fire, cyber risk management and catastrophe insurance), what scuppers so many firms and for which they prepare so poorly, is for human failure (poor assumptions, fraud, corruption, greed, mismanagement etc).
In Hollviken, Sweden I chanced upon a group of “Vikings”, a modern day version of the 1958 film cast starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, and Janet Leigh, trudging disconsolately off the quay. Upon closer investigation, reality was stranger than fiction. This modern day group of Vikings had sunk their boat in the neighbouring Canal on route from a neighbouring Vikings museum. With the help of a modern day pleasure craft and their crew, and the brawn of a few hardy Viking men they literally dragged their boat to safety with ropes. All within one hour. There are four attributes, any business and manager charged with growth must excel at:
1. Reduce effects of the crisis first and rapidly
2. Find the cause of the problem, don’t cast blame
3. Tell people what happened and get external, qualified help
4. The Leader is the last to leave the boat, his behaviour is an example to his key constituents
In the real world, there are real and perceived crises. There is the loss of a key client who is central to your growth plans. It is painful but it is not a crisis. However a regulatory decision that leaves a mid-sized business liable for a multi-million or billion dollar, euro or pound claim settlement, has a genuine crisis on their hands.
© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.