Preparing for a crisis can feel like a daunting task.  But, what if I were to tell you that you can get a good head start in the time it takes to have a coffee break?  Would you give it a try?

Since you decided to read more, I will take your answer as a “yes”.  Grab your coffee, a pen and paper and follow this six minute exercise:

Activity 1. Time = 1 minute

Using the list below, choose the three risk categories most likely to impact your organization.

  • Technology/cybersecurity – personal data security, information leaks
  • Health, safety, environment – office air quality, pandemics, office security
  • Natural/operational disasters – fires, floods, storms, workplace violence
  • Quality, product – tampering, patent infringement
  • Financial – fraud, financial malfeasance, purchasing irregularities
  • Industry/member issues – regulations affecting industry, industrial accident, technology disruption
  • Employee relations/labour disputes – sexual harassment, racial discrimination, scandalous behaviour
  • Legal – trademark, patent or copyright infringement, claims of unfair or improper competition, corruption, bribery, tax evasion
  • Ethics/social – special interest group targets, member or industry-wide issue, demonstrations
  • Miscellaneous – executive behaviour, travel policies, expense policies

Activity 2. Time = 1 minute; elapsed time = 2 minutes

Now, plot the three risk categories you chose on this “heat map”.

Heat map image

Activity 3. Time = 3 minute; elapsed time = 5 minutes

Take the risk category that was the highest impact and highest probability on your heat map and answer these six questions about it.

  1. What might happen?
  2. What it would mean to your organization in business terms?
  3. What are your objectives for recovery, if this happens?
  4. What are we doing now or what should we be doing to prevent this from happening?
  5. What checks do we have in our policies, work processes, etc. to monitor the risk level/mitigate?
  6. Who is accountable for the ongoing monitoring and/risk recovery?

Activity 4. Time = 1 minute; elapsed time = 6 minutes

Take a sip of your coffee and congratulate yourself. Your ability to anticipate what might happen is confirmed.

Now wasn’t that easy?