When an incident happens it is essential that the top management of an organization establish, define and document their policy for crisis management, which includes clear directions and expectations.

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It includes a statement of intent that clearly and concisely outlines their objectives, describes in broad terms how they intend to realize them and conveys their commitment and determination. The policy statement should include a definition of scope. It should identify who is to be responsible for various aspects of the response and recovery actions and its overall coordination. It should also establish priorities, timelines and standards for the delivery of the organization’s crisis management capability, as well as budget and other resource limitations as necessary. The document should address key questions that set the tone for the duration of the crisis such as:

1. What has happened?
2. What has changed?
3. What is the impact?
4. What might happen next?
5. How long is this crisis likely to continue?
6. What actions should be taken immediately?
7. What’s the desired realistic outcome?
8. How often should the team meet?
9. Are the roles and responsibilities defined and understood by the team?

These simple questions will allow the leader to set some clear expectations during the early stages of an evolving. These can obviously be updated as the situation unfolds.


Rob Burton

Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.