When you develop and implement any new crisis program, it’s critical that you have executive level support, or the program will be doomed from the start!   This is not to minimize the importance of ensuring that you have support throughout all levels of the organization, but to emphasize ensuring you gain and maintain executive buy in of the program.

Initially look for those executives that understand the importance of being prepared for a myriad of potential disruptive events.  Leverage them to align top executives on the program scope, resourcing and roll out.    Consider an advisory board or steering committee to help drive and align across functional leads. 

In order to build (and sustain) crisis readiness – top management should direct a framework that facilitates the identification of, and response to various scenarios.   The framework must be flexible and adaptable. 

An important component of the framework is the crisis management policy.   The policy should identify the company’s crisis management objectives, describe how they will meet the stated objectives, and states their commitment to managing an emerging or actual crisis situation.   Roles and responsibilities for implementing crisis management, as well as for management of the event must be included in the policy to ensure there is no ambiguity when the crisis team is activated.   

Even “mature” programs can benefit from revisiting these basics, and ensuring that they are functioning well, and if not revisit how you can improve your program by incorporating some of these fundamentals.