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If you don’t have a crisis, just simply create one … 15/09/2011

Posted by Corneel Maes in Uncategorized.
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At least, it looks like that is what Didier Bellens, the CEO of Belgacom, thought over the weekend. And he succeeded all right. Admittedly, the man has built a reputation of seeking confrontation with his Board of Directors. But he’s gone over the top as he maneuvered himself into a deadly collision course – even with his political friends who always supported him to date. Belgacom’s week started in a very tense atmosphere as Concetta Fagard, Didier Bellens’ ‘protégée’ and self declared executive advisor was re-appointed against the veto of the Board. It’s been interesting to watch how far Belgacom’s CEO could stretch it this time with his Board of Directors. Is it courage or arrogance that drives him up this alley? Maybe revenge? One thing is for sure: Didier Bellens has not been showing great leadership here by putting his personal vendetta front and center. He’s quite a character all right. But what does he want to prove by overruling the Board of Directors and re-installing a manager who was dismissed for putting psychological terror on Belgacom’s employees. The company is facing many challenges ahead and its employees are working like hell to get there. The last thing they need is to be distracted by an unnecessary internal crisis, consciously invoked by their CEO. In a statement Didier Bellens said that Belgacom needs good people. Well, I challenge him to lead by example and start showing some respect – for his employees to start with. Tomorrow the Board of Directors of Belgacom will make a final decision about the Bellens case. Their position is decisively clear. If Bellens doesn’t draw back, the full Board will resign. Nobody needed this to be escalated to a point where it’s getting really absurd. But then again it shows how mixing up corporate and personal interests can lead straight into a crisis situation.


Your crisis manual – dead or alive? 15/09/2011

Posted by Corneel Maes in Uncategorized.
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These days, most international companies have a crisis manual – or are at least aware that they need one. In a global market, where social media can build or kill your reputation, crisis preparedness planning has become a must-have. But then again, too many executives still feel confident that the crisis manual – readily stowed away in their top drawer – is their insurance for handling a crisis successfully.
I’ll tell you what happens “if the shit hits the fan”. The precious booklet will be outdated, contact persons and process owners have moved to different positions, procedures have changed, that updated checklist was not included yet. And when was the equipment in the crisis room tested again? Don’t even remember … Conclusion: the crisis manual is dead. No issue really in keeping it buried in that top drawer, it’s useless anyway.
Here are 5 basic rules that will help you keep your crisis manual alive and kicking:
1. Appoint an owner for the crisis manual and make that person accountable for its accuracy.
2. Do a sanity check of the crisis manual at least once every quarter. Check names, contact details, templates – and don’t forget to update the key figures in the boiler plate after your quarterly results publication.
3. Update your stakeholder databases and make sure they are accessible even when the whole ICT network has collapsed.
4. Review the decision trees, roles & responsibilities of the crisis team members and escalation guidelines after any major strategic development in your company.
5. Last but not least, talk about the existence of the crisis manual within your organization. Make sure it is included in the welcome package for new hires and integrate it into your management development training program.