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Crisis Management Part 2 Fail Proof Your Business

If you used the worksheet provided from our previous post you now have a list of True Risk Ranked items. However, that's only part of the battle.

Now you must do something with this list that is proactive.

These proactive steps should and will include placing processes and contingencies in place in an effort to have a go to plan when a crisis arises.

The best practice is to begin with the number 1 item on your True Risk Rank list, which is the expressed as the lower the items numerical rating the higher the risk to your business.

Brainstorm how you will fix this problem or what you could put in place to make it less damaging to your business.

As an example let's say number one on your Crisis Management Worksheet is a key member of your team falling ill due to a current heart condition. The coworkers current condition increases the likelihood of the risk occurring and since he or she is in a key position the impact upon your business would be significant. Such cases are particularly true in very small firms or practices where there are only 2-10 employees. The goal during the brain storming session would be to identify what actions the business will take in the event of this particular crisis.

In the hypothetical case above this might involve clearly identifying all key players’ job description and duties or creating a plan to train another employee to take on such duties in the event of an extended absence. Another option could be obtaining a line of credit from a lender in order to hire a contract worker to fulfill the duties of this individual during absence. Further, a plan that includes disability insurance would be key to the employee him or herself. The options are numerous and I would encourage you to shoot for at least 20 items for each risk factor.

20 items may seem like a lot, but in a pure brainstorming session the idea is to get out all of the ideas in rapid fashion. Here's a great article on brainstorming.

This second step in the Crisis Management process here can be expressed in three parts:

1. Brainstorm (group or individual)

2. Review Ideas

3. Choose 2-8 ideas

The best way to brain storm, in my opinion, is with a legal pad, whiteboard, or large sticky pads 3 feet by 4 feet (depending if it is solo or group brainstorming).  My personal experience working with teams is that brainstorming is difficult and unproductive for most.  This doesn't have to be the case below are some best practices for brainstorming.

Things to remember when brainstorming:

a) Write down everything that is said- Everything, create a culture of "no bad ideas"

b) Don't ask questions about ideas at this point.

c) Move quickly: set a goal for 20 ideas in 8 minutes and set a timer.

d) Repeat if necessary.

After brainstorming the team should review the ideas listed grouping similar concepts together and asking for clarification when an idea is unclear or needs fleshing out.

The final step in this phase of crisis management is to choose 2-8 ideas as needed for your particular business that you will implement.

This step can go many directions as it might include just the owners, executives, or it may include the entire team. Different situations call for different approaches. There are also many ways in which you can choose these final cut ideas, such as using a ranking system, voting system, or even choosing based on financial constraints.

Once you have completed this phase of crisis management you are well on your way to solidifying your business and working toward fail proofing your business. The only step left is implementation.

As a reminder this process needs to be completed for each item on your True Risk Rank assessment, however it doesn't need to be completed in one sitting.

Go Finish.

Jeff Green

Owner and President of Green Thoughts Consulting, LLC. I am passionate about helping small business owners grow and automate thier business and/or offering so they can do more of what they love and less of the rest. I am an MBA graduate with years of management and small business experience.