The information gap
One of the characteristics of a crisis is the need to make urgent decisions against a background of acute time pressure and insufficient accurate information.
Much of this information relates to the specific circumstances of the incident, over which we may initially have little control. But there is some information that we do have control over and making sure that this information is available to the crisis management team in a timely manner can reduce the amount of decisions that have to be made "on the fly".
As Donald Rumsfeld so eloquently put it "…there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; …we know there are some things we do not know…"
The type of information we can control (the "known knowns") includes where to go and who to contact. It includes contact details and maps and inventories. And it includes actions to take in certain circumstances along with agreed triggers for those actions.
Prior planning, tightening procedures, proving them by rehearsal and keeping critical information up to date and available can all go a long way to easing the crisis decision making process.
So sort out the "known knowns" now and give the crisis management team a fighting chance with the unknowns.
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