No plan – Is it a risk worth taking?
I chose not to blog about the Costa Concordia disaster whilst the intensive rescue operation was under way, as that was not the time to focus on the Business Continuity Plan of the operators, Costa Cruises. Now barristers and solicitors have started to analyse the events, pre and post disaster, and question how well the operators and parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, were prepared for such an incident. It is too late for the company to consider it now. Costa Cruises’ Business Continuity Plan should have been in place long before this disaster happened, as time and again we see companies act retrospectively. So what makes me think they don’t have one? First off, where were the company representatives, showing compassion and professionalism whilst overtly looking after the welfare of the passengers and crew? Nowhere to be seen!
Next, where has their public relations manager been – if they have one? The most highly publicised comments from the company are those of the CEO, Pier Luigi Foschi, when he blamed the Captain, Francesco Schettino. Watch his interview to see how uncomfortable an ill-prepared CEO can look! (The one below is a day or so after )
What damage does this do to the organisational reputation? Carnival Corporation & plc saw 21% wiped off their share price (1 billion pounds!) at a stroke – and they own other brands, including, Cunard Princess Cruises and P&O. And the long term effects could be catastrophic if the public choose to stop booking cruises. Carnival Corporation suffered a Critical Incident – albeit on Friday 13th – and, it appears, senior staff in the company left it to the authorities to deal with.
Such incidents can fatally damage your business. Remember, 80% of businesses hit by a Critical Incident CLOSE DOWN within 18 months. Research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that less than half of all businesses, with less than 50 employees, has done any sort of planning for dealing with a critical incident and 38% of all large organisations have no plan.
Your business may not suffer such a high profile Critical Incident but, at this point, let me ask you, “How effective is your Business Continuity Plan?” Could you afford to have your business devalued by nearly a quarter? You and your staff must have a well-rehearsed plan of what to do, should an incident hit your business which has the potential to adversely affect your reputation.
If, like Carnival Corporation & plc, you let the authorities deal with your incident be aware, the authorities will not have your best interests at heart. At best they don’t care which business is involved and, at worst, they would like someone to blame. After the event, you can say what you like and it will be ineffectual, as it will sound defensive.
I use an expression, “make your impression first”, as it is your opportunity to make a statement, by behaviours, to demonstrate that you are a professional, caring and well prepared organisation. You only get one chance at making a first impression, so plan for it now! Training of staff does not take long – a day should suffice – with other key staff revisiting the skills set from time to time……..now you didn’t know you needed to think about that today did you ?!