When building our crisis or incident management teams, it’s common practice to nominate people with appropriate experience and expertise to be able to deal with whatever issues the incident might throw at us. The resulting membership may include, in addition to the chairperson, representatives from HR, Health and Safety, Facilities, Internal Communications, External Communications, IT, Legal, Business Operations (which, depending on the organisation in question, may comprise several roles and, therefore, several people), Finance, Customer Services, Compliance and Sales, plus one or more scribes and/or administrative support people (delete as applicable, or feel free to add your own if they don’t appear in this list!).
This is all well and good, in terms of having all bases covered. But the danger is that, in the event of the team having to come together to manage a crisis or major disruptive incident, they end up with a huge group of people, which is not conducive to effective crisis/incident management and decision-making (see also ‘The magnificent seven‘).
One way around this is to divide the team into a core group – a subset who would convene for most incidents (often comprising representatives from HR, Facilities, Communications and IT, as these are issues that are likely to apply to most incidents) – and a group of supplementary members who would be co-opted onto the team depending on the scale and scope of the incident to be managed.
That doesn’t mean the supplementary members aren’t important – they may well be critical, depending on the situation. What it does mean is that the right people are there to deal with the prevailing issues. So whoever you decide should be in your core and supplementary teams, a key point is that the team membership should be flexible, to ensure the right people are involved, rather than the proverbial cast of thousands, half of whom are extras or spectators rather than active players.