Archive for August 4th, 2009

The new crisis management emerging–and it works

August 4, 2009

This post from Bulldog Reporter is one of the most encouraging I’ve read in a long time. It demonstrates the dramatic change that has occurred in organizations in building fast response methods to averting potential crises.

I just finished reading another WWII history book–this one called “Scramble” by Norman Gelb about the Battle of Britain. For those not up on this history, this was the battle between the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the RAF or Royal Air Force of Britain. Though outnumbered 3 -1, the heroic and hurriedly trained RAF pilots took such a toll on the German fighters and bombers that Hitler had to cancel his plans for an invasion of England. Truer words were never spoken when Churchill said “never in the history of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few.” Or something like that.

But, the secret to their success was really in their intelligence gathering and their superb organization. Radar was a new invention but they deployed it effectively along with ground observers. They also decoded the German’s military radio signals in a very secret operation called ULTRA. They used these various early warning signals to identify the size, direction and altitude of the incoming raids. Based on this, using their great operational control method devised by Air Marshall Dowding, they directed their overstretched fighter resources to where they could do the most good. Although knocked to their knees, the Germans could never land the knockout punch and Hitler in frustration turned his focus to attacking the Soviet Union.

The new crisis management depends on using today’s radar–social media. Monitoring it closely, and then with organization aimed at near immediate response, moving exceptionally quickly to assess the problem and respond. As the post demonstrates admirably, it works. Many crises can be averted if the problem is dealt with soon enough. The Institute for Crisis Management has reported consistently that 75% of all business crises are “smoldering” in the sense that an issue exists that could erupt into a crisis and if it does, it is usually because the issue is not dealt with soon enough.

It is very encouraging to see major corporations adopting the “Distant Early Warning” and fast response methods that have proven so effective in the past. I just blogged about the increase in trust in business. Hmmm, maybe there’s a connection.