Creating a Disaster Preparedness Plan: The One Time It’s Best to View the Glass Half-Empty

 In Crisis Management & Media Relations, Blog

Normally, I consider myself an optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person. I enjoy working with people with this sunny outlook and try to encourage it in my kids. However, I often think the glass-half-empty attitude is best for businesses and individuals planning for crisis situations.

While you can’t prepare fully for every situation, and having a template for every potential crisis is just not possible, sitting down with your team to brainstorm some possible scenarios is worthwhile. Maybe your company has never had a #metoo situation, but we all now know it can happen anywhere. Maybe your company prides itself on its security measures, but why not prepare for a possible ransomware or cyber breach? A global pandemic seemed unthinkable just three years ago, but we are all too familiar with how quickly this scenario can become a reality.

Some companies I advise like to think through these scenarios with their teams and have basic game plans they can go to if and when the time comes. A basic plan of whom to call in certain scenarios and who will be the company spokesperson goes a long way when you are in crisis mode. While you can be secretly optimistic about a potential crisis, it’s time to think of the absolute worst scenario. Hopefully, you never have to deal with the worst scenario, but isn’t it better to be prepared or even over-prepared for that situation? Sure, it’s great to plan for a situation where you have a data breach that is quickly contained and no HIPAA information is compromised. But why not plan for that huge crisis instead, where there’s a large breach with PHI, and, oh, by the way, it was caused by one of your employees! Now you are prepared for the worst scenario, plus everything in between. That doomsday Debbie Downer attitude is suddenly a welcomed tool.

That doomsday Debbie Downer attitude is suddenly a welcomed tool.

As lawyers, we are trained to see risk, and that risk-averse attitude can be used to your advantage in times of crisis. Often, a CEO focused on growing revenue, HR issues, and other important matters doesn’t want to take time to focus on some mundane crisis management planning that they may never need to use. That’s where some crisis planning can be very useful as you think through steps the company may have to or want to take in certain situations. It’s time well spent because although you may never have to use such a plan, it will be invaluable in situations where minutes matter, and a steady plan can help guide you through the chaos.

So, at least where crisis planning is concerned, maybe it’s time to turn conventional wisdom on its head and proudly see that half-empty glass and, of course, all the problems it could cause.


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