Lack of senior management support “presenting a challenge” to crisis preparedness

A new survey suggests that senior business leaders are failing to take crisis preparedness seriously

A new survey suggests that senior business leaders are failing to take crisis preparedness seriously

Chief executives, managing directors and other senior business leaders are failing to take crisis preparedness seriously and risk undermining their organisation’s ability to manage crises. That’s according to a survey conducted by Regester Larkin and Steelhenge.

The survey also reveals that, while big business appears to understand the need to prepare for a crisis, too often senior leaders do not participate in training or crisis exercises.

Of the companies that had run crisis exercises in the past year, almost half (45%) had not involved their CEO. This was seen as being part of a wider problem, with 46% of respondents identifying ‘lack of senior management buy-in and support’ as the biggest challenge to effectively preparing their organisation for crisis scenarios.

Dominic Cockram, managing director at Steelhenge and a director of Regester Larkin, explained: “If leaders are not fully brought into crisis preparedness, any good work put into crisis structure, process and capability-building will be critically undermined. There is little point attempting to be ‘crisis ready’ when the core individuals responsible for managing a crisis will not know what to do.”

He continued: “There may be many reasons why CEOs are not able to attend crisis exercises, but if you ask any business leader who has had to manage the response to a real crisis, major incident or issue then they will tell you it was time well spent.”

The survey also finds that organisations are not involving their key partners in crisis preparedness programmes, with only 27% involving them in crisis exercises despite over a third (34%) saying that working with partners in a crisis was likely to be a big challenge.

Cockram added: “Crises do not occur in a vacuum. We know from experience that one of the most challenging aspects of managing a crisis is to work harmoniously with partners or suppliers, particularly so when the media and others are looking for a clear ‘villain’. Without involving partners in crisis preparedness programmes, companies are simply leaving themselves vulnerable and unprepared.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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