Choosing the Best Crisis Management Leader for your Organization

Michael Herrera

Your company has a crisis looming. Do you have a Crisis Management Team Leader who can effectively lead your organization out of this mess and back to recovery?  If so, will he or she be effective? Will your response be successful? Often, one of the most significant  success factors is the choice of crisis management leadership.

But picking the right Crisis Management Team Leader and their alternates to lead your organization during a crisis is no easy task. Choosing a Crisis Management leader simply because of their positions in the organization is not an effective route to take, nor is it good for your organization’s health.  Your organization takes on the personality of the Crisis Management Team Leader during a crisis, so choice must be a good one.

Key characteristics of good Crisis Management Team Leaders, based on my experience over the last twenty plus years, are as follows:

  • Respected – Well-respected within the organization and thought of as a good leader.
  • Knowledgeable – Has a solid high-level understanding of the business, its operations and continuity plans.
  • Adaptable – Flexible, adapts to situations quickly, and can think outside the box.
  • Facilitator – Able to lead the team as well as let others lead when their expertise or knowledge is best needed.
  • Listener – Listens to others input to make the best decisions, but knows when to stop and move on.
  • Decision Maker – Makes the tough decisions when no one else wants to and sticks with it.
  • Strategic – Thinks on an enterprise level and delegates tactical tasks to those below for execution.
  • Organized – Keeps the team on track and focused on the event at hand; allows freedom to think but not divert from the mission.
  • Risk Analyzer – Works with the team to assess the most critical risks, define a high-level action plan, delegate tactical execution, and monitor progress.
  • Committed – Willing to be the Leader; committed to learning the process and how to lead in a crisis.

Now remember, you need more than one Crisis Management Team Leader. You need at least one backup, and if you are a large organization, a tertiary.  People can work only so many hours in a day and all of us reach a point where the ability to make effective decisions declines dramatically. So, you must choose wisely, my friend.

Remember, the operational personality of the team and organization will change with each Crisis Management Leader who takes over. Each Crisis Management Team Leader’s personal and professional background will show itself during the crisis.  A crisis event will show the good and bad in all of us. Just like athletes shine or fail during critical times when least expected, so will the Crisis Management Team Leader.

We have seen teams where the Crisis Management Team Leader makes all the decisions and no one else speaks; or where the Crisis Management Team Leader wants consensus and will not make a decision so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.  Probably, the worst, was during a client mock disaster exercise, the Leader said to me, “Michael, this disaster does not fit my Crisis Management Team plan.” So, remember, pick wisely, the life of your company may depend upon it.

About MHA:  MHA Consulting, with its decade-long plus track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations. Every day, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business. For more information on how MHA can make your BCP program world class, please visit: www.mha-it.com or contact us at info@mha-it.com.

 

 

About
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.