We invited Robert Hall, Executive Director of Resilience First to comment on the lessons learnt from 2020:
In 2019, in the time before COVID-19, Resilience First held a briefing where four leading Chief Security Officers from different corporate sectors shared some of the lessons they had learnt from managing major crises over the years.
It is worth repeating their thoughts, which are astonishingly prescient when considered anew in the light of the worst pandemic any of us have ever experienced.
- “The attack was unforeseen, unprecedented but not unimaginable.” In today’s complex risk environment, you may well need to change your risk mindset. To imagine the unimaginable, you must completely change your view of risk.
- “I had a plan until I was punched in the face.” (Mike Tyson) There is no substitute for exercising your risk scenarios. Only through exercising will the team develop the agility to cope with whatever is thrown at them, which is fundamental to success.
- “First and foremost are people, with all their idiosyncrasies.” People and personalities should be a strength not a weakness. You need different kinds of people in the response team: no one has all the skills needed to handle a risk event.
- “Trust your team – you will all be tested.” You will only get through a crisis if you can trust your team to deliver what is required. This cannot happen instantaneously: real trust must be built up over a long period of time and from responding to real events.
- “Escalating late is far worse than timely de-escalation.” To take the pressure off the decision to escalate, and ensure a timely response to events, people need to know they can also de-escalate.
- “What do we know to be true? How do we know it to be true?” Answering both questions with a good amount of certainty is critical for making appropriate incident response decisions and furthering stakeholder communication.
For further views on this topic, see related articles from our Police & Partnerships category: