If your company only has a handful of customers/employees and the impact to the public if your services aren’t available due to a disaster is relatively minor – then a formal crisis management plan is probably not that crucial to your overall Business Continuity Plan (BCP) – so don’t bother reading any further. If however you have a large number of consumers/employees and a public facing set of services – A Crisis Management Plan (CMP) is a fundamental part of your BCP.
When an interruption to business occurs, all eyes are on you as a Credit Union leader to organize the response to the incident. What do we do?! – Asks your staff! The CMP consists of those actions items the leadership team may consider executing to effectively restore operations to normal in a timely manner. These action items serve as the foundation on which to build your recovery effort. As a minimum, your basic CMP will include steps for assessing damage/impact of event, how and when to declare a disaster, identification of key personnel such as media spokesperson and emergency liaison, listing of emergency contacts/alternate locations and most importantly, when and where to locate the command and control center (location for executive staff and key personnel to report and oversee the management of the event). Done well, the CMP provides the structure and key direction needed to avoid or minimize damage to the Credit Union’s ability to operate, reputation and financial position.
Communicating to Members
Should your organization or Credit Union ever have a major outage or problem a CMP provides a predefined strategy and process for communicating with your members. In most outage or service degradation situations it is key to communicate quickly and strategically with you consumers. For a good example look at Tiger Woods. Once the press broke the story the pain kept piling on and he started losing key sponsors. With a crisis management plan you move quickly to admit the failure, discuss solutions, stay on message and keep the media in check. This could have made a huge difference in managing the problem and protecting his sponsors. A good example of how to do it generally can be seen in consumer product safety. Either way, the foundation comes from having a clearly defined and practiced Crisis Management Plan.
Should your organization ever have a major outage or problem, a CMP provides predefined strategies to organize your response to the incident with a key part of this being the processes used for communicating with your staff and members.
Additional information on BCP’s can be found here: