« Continuity of Operations Planning

Top 3 mistakes CEOs make during a disaster

Avoid common mistakes to optimize business continuity.
Avoid common mistakes to optimize business continuity.

During any disaster, it's nearly impossible not to make a mistake. Business continuity is often about minimizing mistakes and their impact just as much as it is about optimizing recovery. In fact, much of these processes are about reputation management as well. It is up to business leaders to ensure they are making the right decisions and putting the most important factors first when developing a continuity of operations plan and putting it into motion.

According to ITWeb, there are several mistakes that CEOs most commonly make during crisis and disaster recovery. By being aware of these mistakes, business decision makers can better avoid them in the future and enhance their business continuity planning. The top three mistakes made are:

Failing to understand the "crisis arc" – According to Alan Hilburg, crisis communications expert of Hilburg Associates, the first classic mistake business leaders make during a disaster is misunderstanding the "crisis arc," or the impact of various possible outcomes from the events of a crisis. By being better at assessing your vulnerabilities, and therefore probabilities, a CEO will be able to minimize disaster risks and better prepare for the most likely scenarios.

"Crisis management is not about the crisis. It's not about reputation and it's not about PR," Hilburg noted at the ITWeb Business Resilience 2014 event. "It's only about protecting business continuity and protecting brand trust. When we look at a crisis, we look at how to stop stepping on the banana peels of life."

Mistaking public relations for crisis management – The outward facing side of disaster management isn't all about public relations. Traditional PR tactics don't apply in a crisis, and businesses need to have a different strategy for crisis communications as they do normal PR. Hilburg noted that traditional PR tactics simply won't work during a business continuity situation, which can ultimately damage a firm's reputation.

Ignoring the community – A disaster affects the broad community around a business, even if it's a self-contained, man-made crisis. Companies that ignore the community around them will hurt their reputation and recovery efforts while hindering future sales and marketing. It can even affect future hiring if firms damage their reputation through these processes.

For businesses looking to optimize their disaster recovery efforts and continuity of operations planning, keeping these potential mistakes in mind and factoring in best practices is essential for success. Bringing on talented crisis management consultants to assist in strategizing and putting the plan into motion can be a major help in these processes. The right mindset is essential for successful business continuity, and not all companies already have this. A fresh pair of eyes can expedite the necessary changes and ensure the right plan is developed.