So you have been asked to plan a crisis exercise for your organization. . . .
Before you panic, here are some tips to help.
- Have clear and aligned objectives for conducting the exercise.
CREATING THE SCENARIO:
- Ask leaders “what keeps you up at night”, to select something that is on their radar.
- Find out what some of their “Lessons to be Learned” from past events were and incorporate testing to see if they have been remediated.
- Understand the functional roles of the attendees, and create the storyline so that it engages a variety of functions.
- Identify and leverage “trusted agents” to help with the detail.
- Pictures, video, “fake news”, and actual names help to improve “realism”.
- Select a comfortable and flexible space. The team will likely want to organize into sub teams, so have 1-2 extra rooms where they can convene.
- Have 1-2 projectors available so teams can leverage them during the exercise.
- Test the audio and video the day before.
- Flip charts, white boards, markers.
- Feed and water the participants!
PREPARE THE PARTICIPANTS:
- Reserve their calendars as far in advance as possible.
- Send a preread to make sure they know the objectives. Include the corporate crisis management policy.
- Identify and prepare a leader to kick off the exercise. (Draft talking points for them to help drive your message.)
- Check audio and video.
- Greet the participants as they arrive.
- Review the objectives, logistics, agenda.
- Run the exercise, observing and documenting gaps, leadership, adherence to process.
- End with roundtable of observations and next steps.
- Identify how you will improve the next exercise you lead.
- Create an After Action Report (AAR) summarizing the event including the objectives, scenario, and observations.
- Review the AAR with leadership to ensure thorough understanding and agreement to the observations.
- Develop a remediation plan for identified gaps.