The disabling dozen: Common crisis plan impediments

If your protocol is comprehensive but unmanageable, that’s a crisis in itself.

If your protocol is comprehensive but unmanageable, that’s a crisis in itself

What’s worse: having no crisis plan, or an unwieldy one?

Consider that the latter is worse for an organization that lets its fate ride on the contents of a clunky plan that isn’t actionable.

Crisis managers should review their written plans against this checklist of worst practices to see if a rewrite is due:

1. A dense table of contents. When a crisis strikes and a team is under immediate pressure, they’ll want to crack open a plan and feel reassured. Is that possible when staring at a multi-page, Roman numeric list with chapters, subheads and appendices? Scrap the textbook format in favor of a graphically simple “How To Use This Plan” that puts each subsequent page in context.

2. Several opening pages of introduction. Far too many crisis plans feature long-winded introductions, usually with an eye toward limiting the plan’s scope of responsibility (thereby covering the plan owner’s posterior). If an introduction requires more than a few sentences, the organization need to align its crisis management beliefs before the plan is used. Similarly, an ample definitions page is likely an omen of a poorly written plan filled with jargon.

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