September 11, 2001
is a day most in generation Z and any older generations will never
forget. A drone attack on the world’s largest oil refinery in Saudi
Arabia just a few days after this year’s 9/11 memorial punctuated the
possibility of even more crises to come.
What Does That
The latest drone
attack proved that we are even more vulnerable than ever. The possibility
of a similar kind of an attack being carried out anywhere else in the world
instantly became very real. Any facility, small or large, could be
vulnerable to attack, from anywhere in the world. Large military installations
and important places for resources like electric power plants and freshwater
pumping stations have security guards, cameras, and security fences.
Radar detects any aircraft, rockets or missiles.
And though drones are actually about 170 years old, they only became more sophisticated and useful to the military this century. Now, they are more powerful, lighter, and undetectable. While it’s true that there’s very little one can do to prevent this type of incident from occurring. However, there are a number of things a company can plan in advance in the event of a terrorist attack, domestic or foreign, on its facilities.
So, What’s The
The problem is that senior management is often reluctant to spend funds for something that will take time for something the odds say will likely never occur. Add to that the fact that many younger MBA graduates believe they have the ability to handle any kind of crisis.
How Do We
Since 9/11, there’s been a trend to concentrate more on readiness rather than crisis management and communication. Like the fire drills many company employees currently participate in active shooter drills now instruct them how to respond and react if someone opens fire in their facility. Many companies now conduct these drills because training employees for a possible active shooter sounds more realistic and practical, particularly in light of several recent events. It’s probably more in the forefront of most employees minds, as well.
The $64 million
dollar question to bring to senior management when selling them on the validity
of crisis management and communication is, “What event or events, regardless of
the likelihood, could occur today that would likely result in the company
either having to shut down or be seriously impaired for a long time?”
Bring up examples
for them to ponder. For example, more than 200 customers and employees of
a nationwide food chain that promoted itself as healthy contracted norovirus,
presumably from an infected employee. Shortly after that, 64 customers at
22 locations became ill from salmonella-tainted tomatoes. Another
incident saw 53 customers in nine states fall ill with E.coli and have to be
There were more
incidents involving the same company which had 1,900 locations at the
time. The company shut down 43 locations after one outbreak. Prior
to all these incidents, the company’s stock prices were at an all-time
high. This was in 2015. Some analysts are predicting that the
company’s stock may equal its 2015 high by end of this year in spite of yet
another big dip last year.
This is the kind of example to bring to senior management to get the approval of well-designed crisis management and communication plan. Having one in place won’t prevent the crisis from occurring but can shorten the recovery time.