Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crisis Leadership vs. Crisis Management.

Richard Moreau, Vice-President, Director Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Does your organization practice Crisis Leadership or Crisis Management? Understanding the difference between the two is essential for generating the organizational leadership environment required for success during an emergency and for the daily operation of any organization.

What kind of leadership prevails today in your organization?

Organizations with a strong leadership, risk taking and pre-established delegation of authority to the lowest level of the organization tend to adapt more quickly in the face of unforeseen events. Organization with pre-established procedures, processes, structures and plans combined with the right leadership culture fare better than those who entered the crisis with nothing in place or with leaders totally unfamiliar with the existing processes. Exercising the roles and responsibilities of the various groups contributing to their EP/EM and response plans are better equip to face the unknown than those who fail to do so.

For many organizations the change in operating environment from routine to crisis is extremely difficult to make. The fast tempo of operations and increased flow of information requires leaders to make decision more rapidly, assume greater risks all this based on incomplete and sometimes conflicting information. This obviously contrast with the slower pace of policy making, where time is on your side, risks are avoided by building consensus, conducting studies and where decisions tend to be taken by committees. Unless your organization’s leadership is adequately prepared to make the mind shift from routine to crisis mode your organization will face increase risks of failure.

By the Leader, with the Leader and for the Leader….

Richard Moreau, Vice-President, Director Emergency Preparedness & Public Safety
Effective leadership is essential for any organization to be effective in times of crisis. In order to achieve this any organizations EP and EM framework must be developed by the leaders, with the leaders, and for the leaders. The effectiveness, quality and relevance of an organization’s EM/EP framework are directly proportional to the level of engagement of the leaders. It is no longer sufficient for leaders to view EP/EM with the attitude of “break glass in case of emergency” . Leaders need to be fully involved in shaping the processes, procedures, structures and tools aimed at supporting their decision making process. The time to kick the tires on your EP/EM framework is not during a crisis. Leaders play a key role in setting the environment and conditions for success.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Leaders are Key...

Richard Moreau, Vice-President, Director Emergency Preparedness & Public Safety
Many conferences and workshops on Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management and Crisis tend to focus on very narrow segments of what is in fact a very complex and multi-facetted issue. We have a propensity to talk about technology, lessons learned in a broad sense, the need to exchange more information but we pay very little attention to the human factor and more precisely the place of leaders before, during and after a crisis. Despite all the technological solutions currently available, it is my firm belief that effective crisis management and response is first and foremost a human endeavour supported, facilitated or enabled by technology.

A handful of conferences that I have attended did provide fine examples of leadership during a crisis. However, in most instances, the common theme that emerges was that these leaders all found themselves in situations where the corporate or organizational processes, procedures and structures in place where not optimized to effectively support their decision making requirements during a crisis. This situation forced them to improvise and adapt on the fly with mixed results. I believe that in order to avoid repeating past errors the EP/EM community needs to place leaders at the centre of their respective EP/EM frameworks. Clearly no amount of preparation will totally eliminate the risk of having to improvise during a crisis. However, there is a fundamental difference between having to improvise process, procedures and structures on the fly while attempting to generate solutions and improvising solutions inside a stable framework of processes, procedures and structures.