So you have been asked to plan a crisis exercise for your organization. . . . Before you panic, here are some tips to help.
· Have clear and aligned objectives for conducting the exercise.
CREATING THE SCENARIO:
· Ask leaders “what keeps you up at night”, to select something that is on their radar.
· Find out what some of their “Lessons to be Learned” from past events were and incorporate testing to see if they have been remediated.
· Understand the functional roles of the attendees, and create the storyline so that it engages a variety of functions.
· Identify and leverage “trusted agents” to help with the detail.
· Pictures, video, “fake news”, and actual names help to improve “realism”.
· Select a comfortable and flexible space. The team will likely want to organize into sub teams, so have 1-2 extra rooms where they can convene.
· Have 1-2 projectors available so teams can leverage them during the exercise.
· Test the audio and video the day before.
· Flip charts, white boards, markers.
· Feed and water the participants!
PREPARE THE PARTICIPANTS
· Reserve their calendars as far in advance as possible.
· Send a preread to make sure they know the objectives. Include the corporate crisis management policy.
· Identify and prepare a leader to kick off the exercise. (Draft talking points for them to help drive your message.)
· Check audio and video.
· Greet the participants as they arrive.
· Review the objectives, logistics, agenda.
· Run the exercise, observing and documenting gaps, leadership, adherence to process.
· End with roundtable of observations and next steps.
· Identify how you will improve the next exercise you lead.
· Create an After Action Report (AAR) summarizing the event including the objectives, scenario, and observations.
· Review the AAR with leadership to ensure thorough understanding and agreement to the observations.
· Develop a remediation plan for identified gaps.