risk management, strictly speaking – success factors of support

Author: Manu Steens

An organizational structure , a decree or law, (a) (some) measure (s), … must be supported to succeed. To be supported, they must be recognized. (I have no criterion to say in which cases this model is all relevant, for that a study should be done of successful and failed business in hindsight.)

Recognition in itself, however, is based on four success factors:

  • legitimacy,
  • cohesion of the target group due to proximity with civilians / the employees of the organisation,
  • effectiveness with purpose and perseverance,
  • authority.

These four pillars are interdependent. If you remove one leg from the table, the other legs will come along and the table will fall. So you cannot actually view them as independent. For the sake of the further discussion, I do that here anyway.

One thing that seems to be clearly supported is the EU regulation of the GDPR. Something that does not seem to be supported is the Brexit . Let us therefore illustrate these two things with this idea.

Success factors of support applied to the GDPR.

  • Legitimacy: The GDPR legislation was imposed by the EU and applies to all EU countries for implementation
  • Cohesion of the target group through proximity : The EU countries are interdependent because they are related to the EU, but also because they have free movement of people, which implicates that they can enjoy similar legislation despite traveling in the EU. At the same time, the EU is for the most part a coherent whole, as a result of which the countries are coherent in terms of supporting the legislation. Proximity is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that EU citizens have recognized the legislation as something that concerns them very much. It belonged very quickly to the
  • Effectiveness: A true barnum advertising has been conducted for the GDPR, pointing out that this legislation applies to the citizen. This was so effective that the people of the EU and the organizations are aware of their rights. And in the very short term jobs have been created: eg. lawyers specializing in GDPR but also DPOs, courses, …
  • Authority: There is also a place in the legislation itself for punitive measures in case of non-application of the law by the organizations in the EU. Also, auditing capabilities were provided. Partly as a result of the possible effect of the hammer, many organizations applied the law, and there was a great sense of “doing something about it”.

Conclusion: due to the barnum advertising, this legislation was strongly founded on these four success factors, so that it could actually only succeed.

Success factors of support applied to the Brexit .

  • Legitimacy: It came about through an unclear referendum with a majority “behind the comma”. There is total division within and across the political parties and within the people. The British Prime Minister was therefore completely in a gap of uncertainty. None of the proposals from the EU or the British themselves was accepted by a clear majority.
  • Cohesion: The British are divided. The votes for and against are neatly divided and without clear coherence. Many people, together with their politics, attach great importance to their sovereignty. Others opt for the possibilities that a cohesive Europe together with the British could mean. The connection is lost. The division is down to the granular level of the population.
  • Effectiveness: Due to a great deal of uncertainty, all proposals about the Brexit in a reasonable manner were As a result, it is regularly postponed. As a result of that, it is unclear how, if and when the Brexit will be a fact.
  • Authority : The Brexit could turn out differently from day to day in a new referendum. There is also a difference of opinion between, for example, the Scots and the rest of the British. In addition, the British regularly state the historic words of Churchill that “GB is with the EU but not of the EU”.

Conclusion: The Brexit cannot be called a success .

Polarisation – Understanding the dynamics of us versus them

Author: Bart Brandsma

With many oppositions, such as in politics, but also at home, at school, in an association, … there are people who have a feeling to be attacked verbally (or non-verbally). Two camps are formed, each with a number of groups, which the author classifies in:

–    The pusher
The joiner
The silent
The bridge builder
The scapegoat.

Each of them plays a role in a case of polarization.

The pusher mainly seeks his justification and power via one liners with which he tries to pull the mass of the silent to his joiners.

The bridge builder often tries to restore the harmony by working on the pusher with arguments, which usually amounts more fuel for the pushers and their joiners. He is usually not trusted, and often becomes the scapegoat.

There is, however, a method to break this vicious circle, based on four game changers:

–    Change target group: you do not have to concentrate on the pusher nor the joiners, but on the silent.
Change topic: find the underlying, often deeper hidden real reasons and goals of the dispute, and talk about it. This is very difficult, because if you hit the ball here, this is fuel for the pushers. However, it is the only chance you have to be believed by the silent.
Change position: speak from the group of the silent, in the middle of them, not from the point of view of the bridge builder. So also: show your own feelings in the case, be one with them.
Change the tone: you have to be truthful. The silent feels it directly if you do not believe what you stand for. In this respect, what the author calls mediative speech and mediative behavior is therefore an absolute necessity. If you ruin that, the polarization will explode in your face.

According to the author there is a strong intertwining between “big brother” polarization and “small brother” conflict. Both of them run together for a large part, but not entirely, so that polarization can always trigger a sequel after the end of a conflict.

This is the first book I know that appeared on the subject. It deals with the phenomenon of polarization in human language, so that everyone can understand it. It is a hands-on booklet laced with examples, even where things went wrong.

Attempting polarization is perhaps the most difficult aspect of human opposition. There should therefore soon be more objective reporting of cases, which are recognized as such, including the unraveling why it succeeded or why not to depolarize them.

The Changing Face of Strategic Crisis Mngt

Author: OECD – OECD

Governments play a crucial role in improving the resilience of populations, communities, and critical infrastructure networks; managing crises is an essential part of this. Recent crises such as industrial accidents, major floods, global pandemics, earthquakes and tsunamis have challenged political leadership and risk managers in many countries.

In four chapters, this OECD book tells us which crises exist, what their characteristics are, how the government can change its approach to changes in crises, how strategic crises can be tackled with early warning systems, what is expected of leaders in strategic crises. , and that strategic crisis capacities must be practiced.

Some key messages are:

–    Governments must develop crisis management capabilities.
Emergency plans are a necessary tool with regard to past events and work fine for “routine crises”. New approach is needed for “black swan” events.
National government frameworks for crisis management are needed to ensure the necessary structures and institutional frameworks to cope with both classic and new crises.
Multi-disciplinary expertise is needed to gain a timely understanding of the crisis.
Leadership is necessary for restoring trust. Professionalism is acquired through specialized training.
Multi-stakeholders and multi-formal public, private and non-governmental organizations must be able to lead their response in order to strengthen (their) crisis response.
(International) cooperation can support many functions of crisis management and must be strengthened.
The development and purchase of early warning systems is becoming increasingly important.
Experts’ opinions must be drawn up in plain language (without too many jargon and acronyms, etc.) and must offer an answer to opposite glances to the crises and their solutions.
Concept-forming processes must be adapted to the crises, prevent overloading of information, observe time pressure and the stress levels of the people, and leave room for reflection and assessment by the strategic leader (s).
The crisis management teams should be given the opportunity to put their conceptual and warning skills into practice through exercises.
Strategic crisis management exercises are essential for the development and stress testing of the capacities of the leaders.
Exercises should focus on the leaders and be convincing to involve the leaders in the exercises.
Good exercises should seem simple, while masking their complexity. Surprise elements must be installed.
Crisis management exercises must be carried out together with governments and the private sector in order to increase mutual trust.
Performing international exercises is necessary to improve the handling of complex, large-scale crises across national borders.

Crisis, Issues and Reputation Management

Author: Andrew Griffin

In this book the author analyzes the links between issues, incidents and reputation. In addition, crisis management also comes to the surface. A crisis can arise from the issues or incidents, and can threaten the reputation. This book is therefore relevant in the current time frame in which organizations function. This is because these are increasingly occurring issues since the rise of social media.

The book is divided into two large parts.

A first part exposes the links between issues and incidents. This both in an external and internal context. The author further divides the issues in negative and positive, each with a possible reactive or proactive approach. This part ends with an overview of inter-related risks, or how internal and external issues and incidents can overlap during a crisis. All this is upholstered with a large number of examples.

So far the theoretical part.

The second part starts with an overview of the course of the reputation cycle before, during and after a crisis. The big steps are:

  1. Prediction, including the scanning of the horizon, the interests of the stakeholders, reputation assessments.
  2. Prevent, with, among other things, a reputation-risk architecture, training, awareness
  3. Being prepared for the crisis
  4. Solution, with issues management and change management
  5. Respond with strategic crisis management and crisis communication and
  6. Recovery with a lessons-based and performance improvement, the re-acquisition of trust and the changes in organization and strategy.

Each of these six steps is subsequently explored in a chapter. But actually every chapter is worth a book.

One of the biggest take-away messages of the book is that in a crisis for the organization there is always the opportunity to change and adapt.

Crisis Communications – The Definitive Guide To Managing The Message

Author: Steven Fink

In 34 chapters, the author explains what crisis communication is about. Everyone knows

  • We Know;
  • We Care;
  • We Do;
  • We’ll be Back.

But if it stays there you miss a lot. Note: We know, care, do, be back is already a good start if you are just in crisis. The problem originates when you put in too many stereotypical phrases. Then the crowd reacts with ‘Yeah, right!’. This also happens if you want to say ‘We’re sorry’ and give it a wrong turn.

Communication is so much more, and pay attention, not everyone can do it. But some positions in the organization (CEOs often) have to show up under certain circumstances. The pitfall of ‘No comment!’ and the like is often there then. The book therefore starts with an example of how it should not be: “I’d like my life back”. The author writes this book with a lot of examples from his practice. He then also goes into what the CEO of BP should have said and done.

But there are many more lessons to be learned from the book. I will pick up a few things here that have stayed with me.

The first thing is: how do you recognize a spokesman? This white raven has the following characteristics:

  • He / she wants to do it;
  • He / she is credible;
  • He / she speaks intelligibly (without jargon) and understandably (clearly);
  • He / she has sympathy;
  • He / she has a good cuddling factor;
  • He / she has knowledge of the matter;
  • He / she is not easily influenced.

He / she also has a good intuitive approach to the following issues:

  • What do you do with an aggressive reporter who interrupts you with a new question?
  • Do you always answer the question asked?
  • If there are several camera crews, do you know where to look?
  • What if many questions are asked at once?

A second thing that remains is the phenomenon of ‘lawyers’. They often want to hear ‘no comment’ in order not to have a (false?) appearance of guilt if you show empathy (We Care, We’re sorry) because that gives a lot of extra work in the courtroom. So you speak to them, you consult with them, but ‘no comment’ is not an option.

In addition, Mark Twain’s quote sticks: “Always tell the truth, that way you do not have anything to remember.” But remember: telling the whole truth is only for in court. What is strongly associated with this is the reputation of the organization and the amount of goodwill it receives from the customers.

One of the most difficult things is communication when victims have fallen. Then the audience wants to know 3 things:

  • What happened? Tell the facts.
  • How did it happen? You should not just go into this. Say you are investigating it. And that is true. This is only definitively known after the judicial investigation.
  • What are you doing? Do not say that it will never happen again, you can not promise that. Rather say that there is an ongoing investigation and that you will give more information the moment results become available.

Sometimes you have to say sorry. This is best done on your own initiative and first. It steals the ‘thunder’.

You also need to know what your crisis is and what is not. You solve your crisis, the rest is done by the police and the court. You must therefore first recognize, identify and isolate your own crisis.

Furthermore, there are crisis communication strategies. You have to be able to tackle some common issues.

  • Who will you communicate with?
  • How will you do this?
  • Who speaks with the discussion partners?
  • Is the government at your side?
  • What is the ‘key message’?
  • How can you keep coming back to that?
  • Which questions should you anticipate?
  • Keep the message specific.
  • Stay understandable, do not escape in jargon!
  • Be honest and take care of evidence.
  • Determine the ‘take away message’.
  • Use examples and metaphors that people can understand.
  • And last but not least: determine what you will do if you yourself are the crisis.

And then of course as icing on the cake: how do you build a defensible decision?

The book reads smoothly, is lavishly upholstered with practical examples of how things should and should not be done. The book does not guarantee that you will be a crisis communicator after reading it. But it is a good start to practice, practice, and practice again.