This past weekend, we turned the page on 2016 – a year filled with global upheaval, a reshuffling of the status quo on the stage of international relations, and a completely unexpected result politically in the United States with the Presidential election in November of last year.
Here in the United States, we saw terrorist attacks executed in an asymmetrical manner by individuals who appear to have self-radicalized through online videos and manuscripts – executing their attacks using information published by groups like ISIS/ISIL and Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP).
2016 was a year where conventional wisdom held that a certain result would happen — the United Kingdom would vote to stay in the European Union, Hillary Clinton would be elected President of the United States, and the world would settle into a certain order.
Instead, we’re now into the first week of 2017 – and I think we can safely say that we have absolutely no idea what lies ahead of us with any certainty.
This is a real challenge for businesses, where an understanding of shifts that can be expected in the global economy, areas of political risk, regulation, and other risks are critical to developing long-term strategies that sustain and grow the business.
The challenge is even more profound for global security, crisis management, and business continuity professionals – who must find ways to cope with this high level of uncertainty – and guide their organizations through the challenges and critical moments that lie ahead.
What’s to be done?
Here are some immediate actions worth reviewing this month:
- Check your “radar screen”: All organizations should have some sort of “radar screen” in place to help alert them of incoming risks and issues. Your radar screen has to be cross-disciplinary – in other words, it has to look at reputational risks, physical security risks, geopolitical issues, information security risks, and others.Tools like media monitoring, reputation monitoring, a rapid response mechanism, and a global security operations center (or “command center”) are important to have in place.
- Do you have a decision making framework in place for critical moments? It’s not enough to just have plans in place, your organization must have a crisis management process in place that focuses on the escalation of a critical moment to a consistent team that collaborates to make the right decision for the organization.Your process should be flexible enough to handle any situation – including multiple situations impacting your organization at the same time. Having a clear decision making and communications process is critical for managing through uncertainty.
- Review your key risks and ensure that plans are in place where needed: Once your crisis management framework is in place, organizations should review their key enterprise risks. These identified risks should be reviewed for applicable mitigation strategies – and then places should be put into place that connect with your crisis management framework and outline specific actions that need to be taken when one of these risks become a reality.For example, for most US based businesses, having solid plans for an active shooter situation is a minimum expectation.
- Exercise your crisis process: None of your plans, framework, or processes matter if you can’t execute them well when the critical moments hits your organization at 4:00am. Your team gets more comfortable and confident with the process through exercises – which also allow you the opportunity to find areas of improvement in a safe environment rather than learning them in the heat of the public eye during a major crisis for your organization.Practice regularly, engage in a rigorous after-action process, and go after your after-action items aggressively. Then, practice again!
Here at Bryghtpath, we expect 2017 will be as turbulent as 2016 was for our friends across the globe.
We hope these simple steps have given you some thought on how to prepare yourself and your organization for the year ahead.
As always, we’re here to help! Providing strategic advice to help you and your team to navigate global uncertainty is what we do.
Drop us a note via our contact page or give us a call at +1.612.235.6435 if we can assist you in any way.