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.
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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.
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National government frameworks for crisis management are needed to ensure the necessary structures and institutional frameworks to cope with both classic and new crises.
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Multi-disciplinary expertise is needed to gain a timely understanding of the crisis.
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Leadership is necessary for restoring trust. Professionalism is acquired through specialized training.
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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.
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(International) cooperation can support many functions of crisis management and must be strengthened.
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The development and purchase of early warning systems is becoming increasingly important.
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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.
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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).
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The crisis management teams should be given the opportunity to put their conceptual and warning skills into practice through exercises.
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Strategic crisis management exercises are essential for the development and stress testing of the capacities of the leaders.
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Exercises should focus on the leaders and be convincing to involve the leaders in the exercises.
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Good exercises should seem simple, while masking their complexity. Surprise elements must be installed.
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Crisis management exercises must be carried out together with governments and the private sector in order to increase mutual trust.
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Performing international exercises is necessary to improve the handling of complex, large-scale crises across national borders.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields. Since 2012, he has been working at the Crisis Centre of the Flemish Government (CCVO), where he has progressed in BCM, risk management, and crisis management. Since August 2021, he has been a knowledge worker for the CCVO. As of January 2024, he works at the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of the Flemish Government. Here, he combines BCM, risk management, and crisis management to create a tailored form of resilience management to meet the needs of the Flemish Government.

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