Tag Archives: business continuity

Who Owns Crisis Management?

I hope this is an obvious point — reputation management is just one facet of broader strategic crisis management.

Communications pros play an important part in the broader system, along with those in business continuity planning (BCP, which is a focus on minimizing business disruption), risk management (often a combination of insurance, legal, regulatory and fiduciary risk), and incident/security management (typically a focus on environmental, health, safety and security risks).

Which discipline should supersede and own this process?   Well, none.

A company’s senior leadership is ultimately responsible for a crisis – they own the system, whether they like it or not.  Sadly, far too many of these leaders adopt crisis management systems that cover only one or some of these disciplines. Continue reading Who Owns Crisis Management?

Preliminary lessons from the gulf oil spill

Provided by Deepwater Horizon Response's photostream (Flickr)

I don’t like to “rate” crisis responses as they’re unfolding, but I suppose you could glean lessons from the 4th inning of a baseball game when they’re evident.  Thus, I decided to join the opinionated crowd by responding to a question posed on a LinkedIn PR News Group discussion on “What are the top 3 crisis management lessons you’ve learned from the BP oil spill?”

Here are expansions from my short replies, with links that help round-out perspectives.


1) Companies that take great business risks must have a commensurate risk management system when things go ker-plewy.It’s easy to criticize BP, if you enjoy fishing out of a barrel.  BP is the designated “responsible party” among all responders of the Joint Incident Command, and as such, the lead butt to kick.  BP also has a history of mishaps and mammoth profits that make many uncomfortable.  Their executives have certainly made some blunders…even before the spill.  (Describing risk calculations in “three little pigs” terminology is colossally stupid, and the company’s oil spill response plans were based on unrealistic data.)

Of course, several parties were pushing limits to get oil out of the deep sea bed, without the equal attention to the safety net required in taking such risks.  Learning nothing from White Star, this was akin to not having enough lifeboats on the Titanic.  Those involved include BP, Transocean, Halliburton and the government’s formerly-named Minerals Management Service.  More analysis is required to untangle the blame.

Continue reading Preliminary lessons from the gulf oil spill

Three Tough Q’s: Ed Eaton

I’ve had the pleasure of not working with Ed Eaton on two occasions. 

Allow me to explain.

Ed is an MBCI – a member of The Business Continuity Institute – and Principal of related firm Warner Gudlaugsson LLC.  (Ask him about the firm’s name if you get the chance – it’s a good backstory.)

Twice now, Ed and I were supposed to combine talents on assignments for two different organizations.  The first project lost its funding.  The second got postponed.  You can’t win ‘em all.

Fortunately, Ed and I kept in touch and I’ve really appreciated his perspectives.  We’re looking to join forces officially on an assignment soon.  When we do it’ll be like a Dynamic Duo of business continuity and crisis/reputation management.  Pow!  Biff!

Until that super moment materializes, Ed graciously agreed to participate here to answer Three Tough Q’s:


Q1:  Do impediments exist between integrated business continuity management and reputation management?

Continue reading Three Tough Q’s: Ed Eaton

Terrorism: Seven Starter Steps to Prepare Against the Unthinkable

According to a recent CNN report, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that attempted terrorist attacks against the United States are at an all-time high.  The department’s May 21 report obtained by CNN also indicates that terrorists are looking for “smaller, more achievable attacks against easily accessible targets.”

Scary.  A word to the wise:  “If You See Something, Say Something.”

Also scary times for U.S. businesses.

Experts who focus on emergencies and disasters have already weighed in with recommended actions.   

It’s a  similar clarion call for corporate communicators to prepare, now, before an attack strikes the heart of a company’s operations.  Here’s a good start of recommended actions:

Continue reading Terrorism: Seven Starter Steps to Prepare Against the Unthinkable

Sharing a Lament with our BCP Brethren

A pair of business continuity planning (BCP) experts recently voiced concerns about their profession.  Tim Armit from the U.K. recently observed that the scope of business continuity too often gets restricted to physical disasters and IT failures.  Ken Simpson later weighs in from Australia with an observation that BCP is becoming more fixated on management systems and certifications, rather than the holistic ability to manage incidents and recover.

We who focus on crisis/reputation management should echo their concerns.

Continue reading Sharing a Lament with our BCP Brethren