Today’s world is full of uncertainties, often amplified by traditional and social media.
We are faced with changing economic models, a fragile geopolitical landscape, new cyber threats, terrorism, corporate malpractice, and the fall from grace of high profile individuals, company specific high-impact failures. This heady combination has triggered a number of corporate crises and scandals throughout 2017.
We debate and hypothesise about these events to understand their underlying causes with the help of hindsight. But what they indicate is that crises occur in all types of organisations, and they do not discriminate based on sector or industry. They can escalate rapidly and in unforeseen ways, affecting people and assets whilst damaging reputations; profitability and even the viability of a business.
How can it be avoided?
The reality is that the continued uncertain operating environment leaders find themselves in suggests 2018 is likely to be just as fraught with threats. Whilst the risks face us all, we can take action to protect our organisations and reputations.
Pick any crisis or major incident and ask yourself did anyone know it might happen? Was it foreseeable? Was it self-inflicted? Or was it just bad luck? And when you’ve answered that, ask yourself – so why didn’t they act? Now turn that on yourself – are you acting on the insight available to you to identify and prevent the next potential crisis?
It is clear that crises and the threat of crises are here to stay. The question now is how prepared are you to deal with them and are you honestly doing all you can to prevent them? The answer to this question may determine how well crises near you are addressed in 2018.
David Viles, Crisis and Resilience Lead Partner
David Viles began his career at Arthur Andersen in London. After the demise of Andersen, David joined Deloitte and was a senior partner in Deloitte’s risk practice, and the firm’s own Chief Risk Officer, before joining BP. At BP David was involved at the heart of figuring out what happened and implementing solutions following the world’s most scrutinised corporate crisis - the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
His analysis and insights into the underlying causes of issues and crises have created a different perspective for his clients; to focus on prevention and not just preparing for when a crisis might occur– by avoiding the incidents, and managing the issues, that can destroy value and reputation.