In the past, crisis management skills were only needed in rare circumstances but that has all changed. In the next few years, most businesses will be locked into a cycle of crisis and change. It may be necessary to shift customer bases, suppliers, and business plans on very short notice.
All kinds of businesses are going to become less predictable, and that’s going to mean the rise of an entirely different set of management skills. Fortunately, the skills that are necessary have been around for a long time. That set of skills is called crisis management.
Crisis management was originally developed to help businesses that were experiencing rare events. Now those same skills are going to be needed by almost everyone. Here are some of the skills that will matter the most.
One of the key skills of crisis management is the creation of detailed long-term plans. The role of these plans is to be able to provide direction and continuity in the event of sudden changes to your business. By definition, these plans need to cover multiple possibilities.
It may take a long time to develop these plans. Until you know what you need to cover, it may be wise for you to work with a crisis management consulting firm. You can use the report they provide as a guideline for the plans you develop in the future.
As long as there are plans in place, everyone knows what they need to do when something goes wrong. That can make your team a lot more agile when it matters the most. The agility the plans offer you can mean the difference between surviving or folding.
Advanced Research & Fact-Finding
Nearly every business needs to do some research at some point. In the coming years, research is going to be a lot more essential to making it to the next quarter.
Every business and every manager is going to need to put measures in place that allow them to stay on top of the latest data. This may mean hiring new staff or putting existing staff in a workgroup that searches for and applies the latest data.
This level of research is not something that can be done by most entry-level employees. The difficulty of an MBA partly comes from the fact that future leaders need to be taught this complex art.
Renewed Communication Standards
If you want to be able to weather a crisis, you need to review and update your team’s communication policies. In a time of crisis, you have so much less room for errors, misunderstandings, and miscommunications.
That means you need to change your policies so that you are able to confirm that everyone is on the same page at any given time. There are several ways you can improve communication in the short and long term.
First, move all high-priority communications to a single channel. All of your employees should know where to find the most urgent information. They shouldn’t have to browse through emails, slack channels, or internal management systems every day to stay up to date.
You should also have policies in place to ensure that the most important messages are preserved and accessible.
Rapid Implementation & Obstacle Management
How well does your business respond to sudden changes? How many layers of management does an idea have to go through before it can be changed? What departments or persons have the power to demand review or obstruct changes before they can be implemented?
If you care about surviving a crisis, you need to know the answers to these questions. You need to know what paths you can follow to implement changes with as few obstructions as possible. That may mean you’ll have to remake your entire management structure.
It’s hard to change these processes without stepping on people’s toes and territory. That’s why these changes need to come from leadership and need to be implemented as far in advance as feasibly possible.
Develop Crisis Management before it’s too Late
The skills of crisis management are no longer for niche consulting agencies. Every manager will need to have some knowledge of these skills—including how and when to apply them. Fortunately, learning the fundamentals isn’t too hard.
Make sure you develop a series of plans. Make sure that you have people in place who can perform advanced market research. Finally, tighten up your communication standards and make sure that you create a path for changes to go through without getting dragged down by committees.