Crisis Leadership: Guidance on Business Continuity Documentation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
From canceled business travel to interrupted supply chains and setting up a remote workforce nearly overnight, the coronavirus crisis has caused immense disruption. The pace of business is moving incredibly fast, and the actions are decisive. Even if your organization didn’t have a business continuity plan, you’re in the middle of living one now.
Recovery Starts Today
As the crisis stabilizes, businesses will begin the process of recovery. Key to this is assessing the organization’s emergency response and documenting lessons learned. A commonly overlooked step during the heart of the crisis, leaders on the front lines are focused on day-to-day operations and the next steps, failing to pause and assess each action of the crisis response.
3 Steps to Documenting Lessons Learned
- If not already in place, establish a crisis management team comprised of senior leadership from the organization’s operations, finance, human resources, legal, IT, communications, facilities, and other vital departments and locations. Ideally, this is the same team that developed the various aspects of your business continuity plan, and it is the team that will remain in place as it updates that plan in the future.
- Meet daily and dedicate time to recording and analyzing your response efforts. As a basic framework, invite each person to provide three negative things that point out weaknesses in the firm’s actions. For example, where were the gaps in the group’s communications? Were there holes in how the various departments supported each other? Items where you completely missed the mark? Positives are nice to hear but do not add value to this meeting or the plan’s evolution. Now is the time to evaluate how the organization needs to improve in the future.
- Longer-term, organizations need to study how robust their crisis management team and actions were in facing the crisis. As operations are ramping up, the record and analysis of this log will provide the best perspective as the specifics of the crisis response become a fading memory.
An outside partner also can be an asset in establishing documentation for your organization and providing a third-party perspective during the analysis phase.