CEOs understand crisis planning – or do they?


Conventional wisdom is that the higher up the hierarchy of an organization you go to address crisis management, the more the idea of issues preparedness and risk identification will be welcomed and understood.

The latest study from Deloitte Risk suggests that this assumption may not be entirely true!

The report, Illuminating a Path Forward on Strategic Risk’, surveyed 400 CEOs and board members from US organizations with a revenue of a billion dollars or more.

The findings underlined that senior managers are more aware of risk – 96% say they expect their organizations to face serious threat or disruptions to their growth prospects in the near future.

But – not so many of them are doing anything to anticipate and prevent these threats!

Chuck Saia, the CEO of Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, writes in the report:

Many admit that they’re not fully preparing for threats or prioritizing the investments needed to identify, respond to, and mitigate these risks. Boards and management are often not aligned on key strategic risk decisions.”

CEOs are more focused on the traditional threats of digital disruption and cyber events.

They are substantially less focused on the newer threats of erosion to brand and reputation and unhealthy workplace cultures.

Yet, these latter risks are the ones we have found ourselves examining often in this blog in recent months – mis-judged advertising and marketing campaigns that enrage consumers; toxic workplace cultures with accusations of sexual abusive behavior from leaders; and organizations that appeared to lack any plan for dealing with major crises.

In the Deloitte study:

  • 70% of CEOs acknowledged that their organizations do not regularly report to executive management on culture and conduct risks – and most have no plans to improve such reporting.
  • Two-thirds of CEOs lacked a process to identify market signals that would precede a potential culture risk.
  • More than half the organizations lack the ability to analyze events and predict their impact on reputation.

And the observation that really made us sit up, in the light of our award-winning mobile crisis management, In Case of Crisis:

More than 50 per cent of organizations lack a plan to develop or acquire new tools to manage reputation risks, including crisis response capabilities.

We at In Case of Crisis obviously have a lot more work to do to get the message across to organizational leaders about the need for crisis planning – and the adoption of In Case of Crisis as the effective way to access your plan and activate the crisis team!