When a crisis hits, and particularly in the early stages, there are usually more questions than answers. The crisis management team can feel like they’re working in the dark, having to make difficult decisions with insufficient information on which to base them (described as "the information gap" in a previous tip).
But there are two small questions that the team can ask, which can help enormously in managing the crisis – "what if?" and "so what?" In other words, what might be the consequences of a particular decision or if a particular event occurs? And are the consequences acceptable?
Asking these two simple questions at various stages throughout the incident response and recovery process helps the crisis management team to be proactive rather than purely reactive. It allows potential problems to be anticipated and risks to be identified and assessed, enabling solutions or containment actions to be planned before the event. Crucially, it can allow the team to start planning effectively right from the word go, even when at first sight there seems to be very little information to go on.
One other question to end with – why not give it a try during your next crisis management exercise?