Good Practice Guidelines – 2018 Edition – The Global guide to good practice in business continuity

Published by The Business Continuity Institute

This edition of the GPG differs according to its own saying in numerous ways from the 2013 edition. Some of those that stayed with me are:

–    More collaboration of the BCM employees with other employees in other management disciplines.
–   
Supply chain was integrated more into the story.
–   
More links are being made to ISO standards.
–   
Risk assessment has gained importance.

There are other things that have changed, which are noticeable:

–    Throughout the work, the link is regularly made to information security, but without referring to the ISO 27K series.
–   
The BIA is still a 4-tuple, but the mandatory character has been changed to “use what you need”
–   
A distinction has been made between crisis management and incident management.
–   
There is a better explanation for strategic, tactical and operational plans in times of crisis. However, without mentioning that the choice is also important as a function of what one needs. This piece remained theoretically sharply separated.
–   
There is a beautiful table here and there with more explanation of what is meant, such as the table with specific core competences and management skills that are required by the BCM responsible, divided according to the 6 professional practices.

In the book, extensive attention was given to PP6: ‘Validation’. Practicing and validating the operation of the BC program of the organization is very important as the keystone of the cycle to its restart.

In summary, we can state that the book is important for the beginners in BCM, but also for the advanced as a reference book.

What I personally regret that lacks is a bibliography for each chapter. For further reading I have the feeling that the interested parties are somewhat abandoned. But then there is the URL of ‘The Business Continuity Institute’ where you can find more information. (www.thebci.org).

Crisis Communications – The Definitive Guide To Managing The Message

Author: Steven Fink

In 34 chapters, the author explains what crisis communication is about. Everyone knows

  • We Know;
  • We Care;
  • We Do;
  • We’ll be Back.

But if it stays there you miss a lot. Note: We know, care, do, be back is already a good start if you are just in crisis. The problem originates when you put in too many stereotypical phrases. Then the crowd reacts with ‘Yeah, right!’. This also happens if you want to say ‘We’re sorry’ and give it a wrong turn.

Communication is so much more, and pay attention, not everyone can do it. But some positions in the organization (CEOs often) have to show up under certain circumstances. The pitfall of ‘No comment!’ and the like is often there then. The book therefore starts with an example of how it should not be: “I’d like my life back”. The author writes this book with a lot of examples from his practice. He then also goes into what the CEO of BP should have said and done.

But there are many more lessons to be learned from the book. I will pick up a few things here that have stayed with me.

The first thing is: how do you recognize a spokesman? This white raven has the following characteristics:

  • He / she wants to do it;
  • He / she is credible;
  • He / she speaks intelligibly (without jargon) and understandably (clearly);
  • He / she has sympathy;
  • He / she has a good cuddling factor;
  • He / she has knowledge of the matter;
  • He / she is not easily influenced.

He / she also has a good intuitive approach to the following issues:

  • What do you do with an aggressive reporter who interrupts you with a new question?
  • Do you always answer the question asked?
  • If there are several camera crews, do you know where to look?
  • What if many questions are asked at once?

A second thing that remains is the phenomenon of ‘lawyers’. They often want to hear ‘no comment’ in order not to have a (false?) appearance of guilt if you show empathy (We Care, We’re sorry) because that gives a lot of extra work in the courtroom. So you speak to them, you consult with them, but ‘no comment’ is not an option.

In addition, Mark Twain’s quote sticks: “Always tell the truth, that way you do not have anything to remember.” But remember: telling the whole truth is only for in court. What is strongly associated with this is the reputation of the organization and the amount of goodwill it receives from the customers.

One of the most difficult things is communication when victims have fallen. Then the audience wants to know 3 things:

  • What happened? Tell the facts.
  • How did it happen? You should not just go into this. Say you are investigating it. And that is true. This is only definitively known after the judicial investigation.
  • What are you doing? Do not say that it will never happen again, you can not promise that. Rather say that there is an ongoing investigation and that you will give more information the moment results become available.

Sometimes you have to say sorry. This is best done on your own initiative and first. It steals the ‘thunder’.

You also need to know what your crisis is and what is not. You solve your crisis, the rest is done by the police and the court. You must therefore first recognize, identify and isolate your own crisis.

Furthermore, there are crisis communication strategies. You have to be able to tackle some common issues.

  • Who will you communicate with?
  • How will you do this?
  • Who speaks with the discussion partners?
  • Is the government at your side?
  • What is the ‘key message’?
  • How can you keep coming back to that?
  • Which questions should you anticipate?
  • Keep the message specific.
  • Stay understandable, do not escape in jargon!
  • Be honest and take care of evidence.
  • Determine the ‘take away message’.
  • Use examples and metaphors that people can understand.
  • And last but not least: determine what you will do if you yourself are the crisis.

And then of course as icing on the cake: how do you build a defensible decision?

The book reads smoothly, is lavishly upholstered with practical examples of how things should and should not be done. The book does not guarantee that you will be a crisis communicator after reading it. But it is a good start to practice, practice, and practice again.

Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations – A Casebook of Best Practice

Authors: Michael Regester & Judy Larkin

In this book, the authors discuss risk management (although they only speak of risk issues) and crisis management as part of what they call ‘Issues management’ and that with an approach from the perspective of public relations. Here they give numerous examples in the form of case studies.

The book is divided into two parts: a section on the elaboration of issues management, which looks suspiciously like risk management, because it has many similar building blocks, and a second section on crisis management, emphasizing both the importance of the teams, as the communication aspects.

Issues management is working on the drafting of a procedure of issues management, in which a great deal of attention is paid to the components that the authors consider important. The whole is concluded with some overviews of concrete approaches in two existing organizations.

Concerning Crisis Management, it is the intention that you remember the following (not necessarily in this order and certainly not an exhaustive list):

 

  • Be the first to share, recognize first that there is a problem.
  • Rectify immediately any error that comes into the media.
  • Be complete, correct, honest, transparent and willing to communicate. Do not say things like ‘no comment’ and if nothing is known yet, then tell them you will not leave no stone unconverted untill is known how things work.
  • Provide a place to speak to the press. It’s best to work one-on-one for the television channels. The latter can take a lot of time and energy and therefore it can be interesting to have a single TV interview set up in consultation with all channels.
  • Start communicating immediately, even if you do not have any information yet.
  • Always discuss the following topics in the following order:

    • People
    • Environment and environs
    • Properties
    • Money

And always talk first about the facts, then emotions and then state a vision of what you will do or are doing about it. Prevent a void in communication.

  • Always make sure that your actions are in the spotlight, and that you are heard.
  • Avoid putting bad blood in the population.
  • Visit the disaster site.
  • Acknowledge fault when it is proven, not before. Refer to experts for the evidence and do not be tempted into endless defense talk.
  • Never speculate about what you do not know.
  • If the press does not pay attention to you, do not walk away, stay in the area but do not pull any attention to your organization. Do not be a ‘sitting target’.
  • Do not ignore any media source.
  • Be willing to pay ex-gratia.

All this is extensively upholstered with cases where it worked and where it did not work.