If so, you're not alone, because the majority of business executives certainly do! According to the Ottawa Citizen (26 Sept 06, p. D1), 72 % of Canadian executives admit to having no plans to deal with a major disaster affecting their companies, despite feeling personally responsible for the matter. Frankly, I am flabbergasted by this statistic given the current state of the world.
Are these executives refusing to face up to the real possibility of crisis, or does something else explain the situation? I believe it stems in large part from a lack of expertise and knowledge in disaster response and crisis management on the part of business leaders. Rather than deal with the matter up front, many executives are simply hoping for the best because they think that nothing can be done. Furthermore, I am convinced that this situation obtains in numerous other areas, especially in government.
There is a need for competencies at the highest level to deal with such crises and disasters. I call this discipline "robust" management: The ability to lead and manage in a chaotic and challenging environment. Let's look at the basic steps involved, which I call the 7 P's of robust management. Following them will provide a ready-made template to analyze and prepare for contingencies of all kinds.
It is up to senior executives to implement systematic planning and preparedness measures in order to better prepare for, prevent, or otherwise mitigate potential disasters and crises. This is a key leadership function. Moreover, company boards and other governance structures should hold these executives accountable for implementing such measures, especially in businesses and organizations for which the public has more than a passing interest. These include municipal governments, IT service providers, financial services, public utilities, communications utilities, health care facilities, educational institutions, fire departments and police forces.