Crisis Planning for business

Nigel Peters
Alium Partners is quite unique in our sector in terms of our skills for crisis planning. Never in most of our lifetimes have we seen a business crisis like this one; even events like the financial crisis and 9/11 are minor in terms of the likely business impact.

I spent around seven years leading crisis planning for significant areas of the Ministry of Defence, initially from our crisis Headquarters at Northwood, then subsequently at the then Headquarters Strike Command and later into live operations in the Middle East as part of Operation Telic – the invasion of Iraq.

So here are a few basic pointers on what I believe you should consider at this time. Get all of your heads of departments together and brainstorm the situation. For example;

1. Understand the problem and then identify what you want to achieve. In military terms, this is called the end state. In systems engineering, it is the ‘to be’ model. What does success or what does good look like? At the moment that could be a sustainable business, positive cash flow or something such as maintain a minimum output or operating capability.

2. What are the key factors to consider?

Cash. Never has it been truer that cash is king. How can you mitigate cash going out? How can you defer payments? How can you bring any receipts in? How can you bolster the position? Can you get assistance from HMRC or local authorities for rates?

People. Shift pattern? Working protocols, holidays, home working and remote working arrangements.

Systems. Can you use technology or change work processes? Alium Partners, for example, use Microsoft teams, an outstanding remote working tool.

Marketing and communications. The military are excellent at setting a ‘battle rhythm’ in other words having daily team briefings to ensure everyone knows their role as part of the bigger plan.

3. Lay down all of the actions from the above and structure these into a time-based plan. Keep it simple and keep it focused.

4. Be agile. The plan never survives the first contact, but by having one you can adapt and change quickly. Doing something is better than doing nothing and it may demonstrate the best route to success.

So, these are just the basics and stem from many years of training and implementation.  But it won’t work unless you do something. Of course, the Alium Partners network has access to great people form the blue light services, military and other agencies who can help at a time like this. Just give us a call.

Lastly, I’ve attached some advice from my friends at Knights PLC that I hope you also find useful.  Download their Coronavirus Factsheet

Nigel Peters
Managing Director