For the first 2018 issue of the Be Prepared magazine on emergency management in Belgium, PM wrote an article on the purpose of analysing perceptions and sentiments in a crisis. In the article, our strategic crisis advisor Robbert Meulemeester explains how crisis management teams can benefit from such analysis to improve both the quality and accuracy of the decision making process.
Update Maart 2018: dit jaar organiseren we als vervolg van dit symposium samen met Zorgnet-Icuro inspirerende workshops “Crisisbeheer in zorgorganisaties” De workshops zijn ingedeeld volgens de gouden driehoek (beleid, operaties en communicatie) en vinden plaats in Gent (volzet) en Leuven. Ons nieuwe boek over crisismanagement dat we op het congres voorstelden, is intussen ook beschikbaar.
Op donderdag 5 oktober vond in Brussel het symposium ‘crisis in kleine en grote zorgorganisaties’ plaats, georganiseerd door Zorgnet-Icuro en PM Risk-Crisis-Change. Het werd een boeiende dag met vertegenwoordiging van tientallen verschillende zorginstellingen uit Vlaanderen. Een verslag door Robbert Meulemeester.
Voor wie helemaal in de sfeer wil raken, beginnen we met de aftermovie.
How to transform conversation into strategies
At the BCI World 2017 Conference (London), PM team members Stijn & Tim held an exciting duo presentation covering various new insights on establishing solid crisis management strategies based on useful informal conversation and sentiments.
The content of this presentation sparked the curiosity of two Business Continuity related outlets: both the Continuity Magazine and the Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning asked us to write an article about this fascinating subject for their readers. As we firmly believe in spreading our ideas not only by presenting at international symposia but also in written form, we immediately said ‘Yes!’ to both requests.
In Januari 2018, two PM team members were invited by Think-TIC (“El Centro Nacional de Formación en Nuevas Tecnologías de La Rioja”) for talks on Normal Chaos and Crisis Management in Logroño, Spain.
Dealing with relevant questions such as:
- What can organizations learn from crisis management?
- Why should organizations learn from crisis management?
- How to take advantage of crisis management practices?
in this session, they approached the field of crisis management and beyond. Not only did they discuss how crisis management best practices are key in critical situations, they also demonstrated how crisis management can support and enhance business performance by increasing organizational responsiveness and adaptability.
At PM, we sometimes get asked to give our two cents or provide coaching during various initiatives. In November, I attended a hackathon by ‘vzw Tout bien – Okidoki?’ organized to come up with new and innovative ideas to prevent youth suicide. Although my role was minimal, I was touched by the event and the stories of those participating, which is why I wanted to write a few paragraphs about the initiative.
You see, as we go through our daily lives we often forget that Belgium is in the top 10 when it comes to suicide deaths and attempts. It’s the number one cause of death in our country for both youngsters and adults. In 2014, 3 people took their own life each day. We can’t ignore those numbers. The organizers of the hackathon were confronted with suicide themselves when their son unexpectedly took his own life in 2015. It’s admirable how they found the energy to transform these negative thoughts and feelings into a social project that supports people like their son and their friends, families and loved ones. This hackathon was one of their many initiatives.
To provide a realistic environment in which organisations can veraciously apply resilience principles and test crisis processes; this has always been a number one priority of PM, particularly in our crisis simulations. Last summer, our developer Tim (yes, this is a tool we develop ‘in house’!) worked hard on getting our crisis exercise platform CIP Simulator ready for another massive series of crisis workshops and exercises that this software is going to facilitate this year.
Over the years we have made this online tool a core component of most of our services. Awareness sessions, table tops, all kinds of trainings, any type of crisis exercise, remote drills, challenging operational simulations, all of them are supported in one way or another by the platform. The main reason why we put efforts into this tool: providing an automated feed of inserts during an (simulated) escalating situation gives our consultants the freedom to focus on what they love: to make observations, recommendations and to provide advice, guidance, tips and tricks in real time, based on the performance and shown skills of the exercise participants, these poor chaps who must muddle through a well staged mayhem of complex circumstances and events.
At PM, we often organize trainings or Masterclasses, during which we talk about the latest developments in our field. During day 1 of our most recent Masterclass on crisis communications, Managing Partner Stijn Pieters elaborated on strategy. Challenging the participants to think further on the concept of strategy, he introduced a small yet telling exercise.
If you’re a crisis communications super hero, strategy has most likely always been your kryptonite. It’s a term that lots of professionals tend to gush with without completely understanding what it means. They’re not to blame: there are hundreds of definitions for strategy out there, each more complex and abstract than the other.
We wanted to change that during the Masterclass. Introducing the concept of strategy, Stijn talked about the challenges for consultants or communications staff tasked with strategy building in times of crisis. These were his three main conclusions:
Wouter Jong (NL) & Dr. Timothy Summers (USA) zullen samen met het team van PM de Masterclass Crisiscommunicatie invullen. Op 24 en 25 oktober 2017 vindt deze masterclass plaats in Brussel. Tijdens de tweedaagse leggen we de nadruk op twee essentiële elementen van geslaagde crisiscommunicatie: strategie en omgevingsanalyse.
Deelnemers kunnen zich inschrijven voor beide dagen of voor elke dag apart. Momenteel zijn er voor elke dag nog drie plaatsen beschikbaar. De geleerde skills inoefenen doen we nadien tijdens een (optionele) remote oefening. Wil je er ook nog bij zijn, laat het ons snel weten via dit inschrijvingsformulier.
Met Wouter Jong en Dr. Timothy Summers is de groep docenten compleet. Vertrekkende vanuit de basisprincipes en -concepten, gaan we dieper in op nieuwe inzichten rond strategiebepaling en omgevingsanalyse. Als deelnemer verrijk je jezelf met praktische en theoretische inzichten, waardevol en meteen inzetbaar in je eigen organisatie.
Being on the cutting edge of crisis management research
Mike Lauder, Hugo Marynissen and Timothy Summers, who have a long term professional relationship as researchers in the field of risk and crisis management, have been working for several years on a theoretical concept they call Normal Chaos.
The researchers use the term Normal Chaos to describe circumstances where the cause-and-effect relationships embedded within the circumstances are too complex for us humans to truly understand. They indicate that such complex situations produce surprising and unexpected occurrences that negate our plans. Finding ourselves in such a complex situation we have to re-adjust continuously. Very few plans will be enacted as envisaged; instead they are constantly challenged by newly emerging situations.
Management actually spends its time adapting to changing circumstances
The implication of Normal Chaos for practice is that organisms need to make enough sense to continue functioning whether it reflects reality or not . This requires managers to take a pragmatic view of their situations and to be aware of the implications of the difference between the two. When adopting the Normal Chaos perspective we need to accept that our constructed processes are rarely optimal (we “muddle through” instead of “manage the situation”), our rationality is limited (we have a “bounded rationality”), the result achieved is rarely ideal (instead people “satisfice”) and we need to learn continuously through a process of “trial and error”. To do this means we need to maintain a capacity to react as circumstance change.
This radical new approach of looking at how we anticipate complexity was published in July 2017 in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. The paper is available via an account on the Wiley Online Library.
Find out where to get the book here (bottom of the page).