Impact of the Corona Pandemic on Crisis Management and First Learnings

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are experiencing the first wave of the Corona Pandemic subsiding, at least here in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Many people hope that a new “reality” is now emerging. The consequences of this first wave are considerable for many people on a personal and economic level. It can already be said that the consequences of the “lockout” will be drastic in many areas. This starts in the family with working women and their small children and goes all the way to the self-employed and small businesses whose existence is threatened. Everyone hopes that a recovery and normality will soon return. We unreservedly endorse this.

In the INFOletter of February 10 we gave first observations and tips from our practice. And it turned out that we were quickly overtaken by reality. We at Verismo quickly adapted to the new situation. In the process, we experienced how dramatically fast digitization has moved into (internal) communication. Tools like “Zoom” and “MS Teams” have spread incredibly fast. In the staffs of companies (often called “task forces”), “virtual” Crisis Team work spread. In order to maintain the exchange of experience – even in large rounds of crisis experts from well-known companies – we organized virtual meetings with MS Teams every two weeks, held intensive discussions and worked out the latest new findings.

The following 15 points belong to the essential findings:

  1. The leadership rhythm is of crucial importance to have an orientation in an unstructured situation
  2. Best practice recommendations for the approach and cooperation of staff from local, regional and international levels are required
  3. In spite of the basically uniform structure, decisions on local issues should also remain local
  4. Virtual Crisis Team work is strongly on the rise, yet every meeting is a technical challenge
  5. Internal company communication has (once again) shown weaknesses
  6. It is necessary to form small teams for specialized questions at an early stage
  7. The logging function is insufficient, especially to have an evidence base in later legal disputes
  8. Competence in finding solutions must be promoted across hierarchies
  9. The replacement of lacking/lack of leadership and methodological structure by selectively reactive action continues to be strongly visible
  10. The classic line function has learned to accept Crisis Management. But for how long?
  11. By delivering a daily situation report, the crisis team can gain the (internal?) information sovereignty. How can we help the business and thus gain acceptance?
  12. Pandemic planning should be revised
  13. The phase “lessons identified – lessons learned” is very important and should not be omitted under any circumstances
  14. The restart is part of the Crisis Management rhythm and should be better anchored in the company
  15. The return to normality does not happen at the first attempt, but must be done step by step

Companies have now held more than 70 meetings with their staffs. Routine sets in. Methodological errors have also been incorporated. How important has the applied methodology been in the course of the crisis so far?

In order to prepare for the next step, which is now necessary, we used a questionnaire in another workshop with our expert group. The questions we suggested are:

  1. What went well?
  2. Which contributions promoted the result?
  3. What went badly?
  4. Were we dealing with a controlled process?
  5. What can I do to improve the maturity of the Crisis Management process?
  6. What contribution can I make myself to make it run better in the future?
  7. Where do I see potential for improvement?

In a first round we discussed and evaluated these questions. You are welcome to use these or similar questions in an interview round in your company. We would be happy to send you our questionnaire.

Finally, I would like to respond to a statement from one of the specially recognized security consultants. Rainer von zur Mühlen, whom I hold in high esteem, made a remarkable analysis of the current situation in an interview in the magazine PROTECTOR (issue 5 / 2020, page 40/42). His justified references to the “Report on Risk Analysis in Civil Protection 2012” are alarming. This is based on the results of LÜKEX 2007, where an outbreak of a virus was assumed.

However, I would like to contradict Mr von zur Mühlen on one point. In the interview, he speaks out against modern Crisis Management software and continues to recommend the classic paper version in 2020. I would therefore like to invite Mr. von zur Mühlen to get an impression of our new web-based Crisis Management Tool DEMiOS 3.0. Fortunately, we completed DEMiOS 3.0 before the current pandemic broke out.

Do you need concrete support or further information on how to quickly develop and effectively implement emergency plans in this situation, e.g. to respond to supply chain failures, defuse crisis situations, communicate explosive issues or update pandemic plans? Get in touch with us! We would be happy to discuss this topic with you in a direct conversation. In the medium term we would be happy to welcome you to a relevant seminar in our training center. We will publish the updated seminar brochure soon. Please visit our new website to get an overview of our consulting services.

We look forward to talking to you.

Klaus Bockslaff and Mathias Götsch