Do you manage your Crisis Management teams by title or capability? In previous posts, I have discussed a common issue that many Crisis Management Teams suffer across different industries and that is having people lead or serve on their teams simply due to their title or position within the organization.
We must change our mindset and manage our Crisis Management Team by those with the capability and authority to strategically respond and recover from an unplanned event. A client of ours experienced a highly publicized event regarding their CEO that required their Incident Management team to be assembled for a long period of time and quickly found that a number of team members placed on the team by title, needed to be replaced by others who could execute. The members were released and the team members who could execute, continued their efforts. The event forever changed how this client will manage their Crisis Management Team. Managing your department well on a day to day basis and being able to manage the team through a crisis are two totally different events.
We must look at our teams like a professional sports team and identify the strengths and weaknesses from the Leader to the individual role players. In my consulting firm, we rank our consultants by capability in client interaction, ability to lead engagements, work behind the scenes, etc. By doing this, we are able to place the best consultant fit for the particular engagement.
This is not an easy task to complete as Crisis Management Teams are typically filled with politics and alliances across the senior management team who typically fills these roles. To assess team performance, we recommend that you have primary and alternate team members participate in mock disaster exercises, have different team leaders run the exercises and stress test individuals on the team by requiring specific tasks to be completed. By doing this, you can assess team member performance, strength and weaknesses.
On a regular basis, sit down with your senior management and ask them to rank the Crisis Management team and its players in its ability to execute. Discuss the strengths and opportunities of the team and remind senior management that its the ability to execute in a crisis is what a team member must be able to do. Lets look beyond the title and bring in the people who can lead the organization.