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.


·       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! 


·       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.

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