Crisis planning is not an oxymoron – it’s essential. And whatever the crisis may be, one vital component of effective crisis planning is to develop redundancy. That’s right, that word and concept we work so hard to eliminate and minimize in other situations is not just necessary, it’s vital.
We prefer to do crisis planning and prevention before something happens, but sometimes we are brought in during the thick of it. In either case, one of the most important things to establish in your crisis response team is redundancy. That’s right, that word and concept we work so hard to eliminate and minimize in other situations is not just necessary, it’s vital.
Redundancy is key
Crisis communications is a battle to establish a steady flow of information to inform decisions and enable execution. Nothing stops this faster than when the central person with the authority doesn’t answer their phone. Maybe they were involved in an incident and are unable to respond. Maybe they’re traveling in international airspace. Maybe they were abducted by aliens. Whatever the reason — timely crisis response needs to move forward.
Keep information flowing
To avoid this paralysis, your crisis plan should include levels of redundancies that designate a backup for all the people responsible for making decisions. For instance, who do you call if your CEO isn’t available? Who can access the IT network if your director of IT isn’t an option? Who will talk to the media if your spokesperson can’t? A crisis is not the time to be asking who your CEO trusts most or who can get into the server room or who’s had media training. Identify these people and roles in advance to ensure an effective crisis response.
Moral of the story
When planning for a crisis, redundancy is your friend. Make sure everyone knows roles and responsibilities, and who to call for backup when the first in line isn’t available. This may not make a crisis go away, but it will enable a more effective response.
Always take time formalize your plan and take the time to practice. We recommend involving an experienced partner who can run you through real world simulations and evaluate your response. An added benefit to this approach — you’ll have a trusted advisor who can step in at a moment’s notice to guide you in the most difficult of crisis battlefields.