CEO reluctance to participate in crisis training & exercises risks undermining great work in crisis

Senior business leaders’ reluctance to participate in crisis training and exercises risks undermining great strides made in crisis preparedness.Senior management support identified as single biggest challenge to crisis preparedness.
By: Regester Larkin & Steelhenge
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* London City - London, Greater - England

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LONDON - Nov. 30, 2015 - PRLog -- Chief executives, managing directors and other senior business leaders are failing to take crisis preparedness seriously and risk undermining their organisation’s ability to manage crises, according to crisis management experts Regester Larkin ( and Steelhenge’s latest crisis survey.

The survey of 170 large companies from 27 countries revealed that while big business appears to understand the need to prepare for a crisis (86% of respondents said they have a crisis management plan and 59% carry out crisis training at least annually), too often senior leaders do not participate in training or crisis exercises. Of the companies that had run crisis exercises in the past year, almost half (45%) had not involved their Chief Executive.

This was seen as part of a wider problem, with 46% of respondents identifying ‘lack of senior management buy-in and support’ as the biggest challenge of effectively preparing their organisation for crises.

Dominic Cockram, Steelhenge managing director and Regester Larkin director said: “If leaders are not fully brought into crisis preparedness, any good work put into crisis structure, process and capability building will be critically undermined. There is little point attempting to be ‘crisis ready’ when the core individuals responsible for managing a crisis will not know what to do.

“There may be many reasons why chief executives aren’t able to attend crisis exercises but if you ask any business leader who has had to manage the response to a real crisis, major incident or issue, they will tell you it was time well spent.”

Failing to learn from experiences

The survey also found that many organisations are failing to identify lessons and learn from experiences. Only 40% of those companies that had responded to crises in the last year said that they review their crisis plans after an incident or issue. Only 13% of companies reviewed plans after a ‘near miss’.

Regester Larkin recommends that after any crises, the response actions should be reviewed, gaps and weaknesses identified and plans improved. This window of opportunity, when crisis management is high on an organisation’s radar, should be taken to ensure any mistakes are not made again.

Partners and suppliers are a big vulnerability in a crisis

In the supplier arena, the survey found that organisations are not involving their key value chain partners in crisis preparedness programmes: only 27% involve them in crisis exercises despite over a third (34%) saying that working with partners in a crisis was likely to be a big challenge.

Dominic Cockram continued: “Crises do not occur in a vacuum. We know from experience that one of the most challenging aspects of managing a crisis is to work harmoniously with partners or suppliers, especially when the media and others are looking for a clear ‘villain’. Without involving partners in crisis preparedness programmes, companies are leaving themselves vulnerable and unprepared.”

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here:

About the report

The findings in this report are based on 170 responses from a survey conducted in June 2015.

Respondents were asked about their approach to crisis management and were from large complex organisations (99 had more than 5,000 employees), from 27 countries. They represented a range of sectors and functions.

About the authors

Regester Larkin is a specialist crisis, issues and reputation management consultancy. It is headquartered in London with offices in Houston and Singapore.

Steelhenge is a crisis management, organisational resilience and business continuity consultancy and now part of the Regester Larkin Group.

Together we have the world’s largest, fully dedicated team of specialist crisis management consultants. We are internationally recognised as thought leaders, innovators and authorities in crisis, issues and reputation management.

Alice Bainbridge
Tags:Crisis Management, Business Continuity, Crisis Training
Location:London City - London, Greater - England
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