The current political and business landscape is extremely volatile. The result? Companies are increasingly likely to face issues that can damage their reputations, destroy consumer trust, harm employee morale, and impact share price. From cyberattacks, shareholder activism, and compliance issues to personnel issues, business disruption, and even workplace violence—risks seem to lurk in every corner. For businesses, failing to prepare and respond appropriately to a crisis can have devastating long-term consequences.
Building crisis muscle memory for special situations is crucial for any business, big or small. Yet nearly 60% of CEOs are concerned about the crisis readiness of their organization and only 32% of companies engage in crisis simulations or trainings. Even if organizations do take steps to prepare, developing programs that truly strengthen crisis management capabilities and test company protocols is a challenge.
We have run hundreds of crisis preparation trainings through our real-time crisis simulation platform Kekst CNC Situation Room for large and small organizations across the globe. Here are five essentials to get the most out of a crisis simulation:
- Allow participants to feel the heat
Protocols, processes, and crisis playbooks are all important, but to be fully prepared companies need to put these policies into action and build muscle memory. Crisis simulations need to recreate the real-time pressures and team dynamics of an actual crisis situation. Managers and communicators should not only think through how to respond to a crisis, they should together formulate a potential response while experiencing the heat of a crisis. The Situation Room training is designed to challenge participants in every way, using such real-time developments as mock social media tweets, angry phone calls from politicians, emails from regulatory bodies, or an on-camera statement for a journalist to provide a fully immersive training experience.
- Define the purpose
Are you honing your team’s already strong skills? Testing procedures and manuals? Do you want to improve the collaboration between departments? Answering questions like these will help you determine the most effective way to meet the needs of your crisis team. With the Situation Room, Kekst CNC will design a custom simulation on a crisis topic most relevant to your organization. We offer a variety of training formats, from workshops to define crisis management procedures, to moderated group exercises that strengthen skills, to live simulations that stress-test the interplay of all functions. We’ll also help you chose the relevant participants and define individual training goals.
- Identify your true pain points
Corporate risk assessments need to be thorough and self-critical. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and dig deep into your organization’s potential weaknesses (Compliance issues? Data security? Siloed thinking?). The Kekst CNC experts will help you define your core challenges and then create a bespoke, realistic crisis scenario drawing on our vast range of on-the-ground crisis experience in client mandates.
- Think beyond communications
While training your communications team for a crisis is essential, expanding the participants to legal, IT, compliance or representatives from international sites can be highly valuable. Successfully managing a crisis situation is not only about the performance of individuals or departments, it also requires collaboration across functions. Kekst CNC has trained multiple cross-functional teams, including C-suite executives. We also can collaborate with external experts like IT specialists, forensic consultants, lawyers, or investigative journalists to hit the right trigger points.
- Act on the insights you gather
Crisis training should offer a closed and secure environment to openly test, challenge, and discuss crisis readiness. A candid post-mortem review allows organizations to identify processes that need to be simplified, outdated core messages, or individual follow-up training needs, among many other insights. The feedback after every Kekst CNC Situation Room session focuses on the reflections of participants, our crisis experts, as well as internal observers or external experts, if requested. These insights often allow Kekst CNC to help revise and significantly strengthen a client’s crisis readiness program.
To get to know more about interactive crisis simulations in the Kekst CNC Situation Room, watch this short video.