Crisis management involves preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an event that can disrupt an organisation’s viability or stability. On the other hand, operational readiness refers to the capacity to perform critical business functions and maintain services without interruption or decline, even in uncertain or changing circumstances. Both concepts are crucial for ensuring business resilience, which refers to an organisation’s ability to adapt, survive, and thrive in a complex and dynamic environment.
The distinctions between crisis management and operational readiness can be understood as follows:
- Crisis management focuses on the immediate actions and decisions needed during a crisis, such as identifying the root cause, mitigating the impact, communicating with stakeholders, and restoring normal operations. Operational readiness focuses on the proactive measures and capabilities enabling an organisation to prevent or withstand a crisis, such as identifying and managing risks, implementing controls, testing plans, and enhancing skills.
- Crisis management is often reactive and event-driven, triggered by a specific incident or scenario that threatens the organisation. Operational readiness is often proactive and continuous, meaning that it is embedded in the regular operations and governance of the organisation.
- Crisis management is usually led by a dedicated team or function coordinating the organisation’s response and recovery efforts. Operational readiness is generally shared by all parts and levels of the organisation that contribute to the delivery and performance of critical business services.
Crisis management and operational readiness complement each other in ensuring business resilience in several ways:
- Crisis management and operational readiness aim to protect the organisation from potential harm and disruption caused by internal or external factors, such as cyberattacks, natural disasters, regulatory changes, or market fluctuations.
- Crisis management and operational readiness rely on thoroughly understanding the organisation’s critical business services, processes, systems, resources, dependencies, stakeholders, and their respective vulnerabilities and impacts.
- Crisis management and operational readiness require a strong culture of risk awareness, accountability, collaboration, learning, and organisational improvement.
- Crisis management and operational readiness benefit from regular testing, monitoring, evaluation, and feedback mechanisms that help identify gaps, issues, opportunities, and best practices.
In summary, crisis management and operational readiness are two separate yet interconnected ideas that are crucial in ensuring the resilience of a business. By effectively managing crises and establishing a robust operational readiness plan, an organisation can improve its ability to handle unpredictable circumstances and adapt to change while continuing to perform well and maintain its reputation.