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Staying In The Black

John Boggs, an Officer and a Businessman

All businesses hope for the best, but is your business prepared for the worst? Planning for a crisis isn’t something you can do after a crisis strikes. Colonel John Boggs U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), founder of Phoenix-based Fortitude Consulting, wants you to know the drill when it comes to crisis planning.

Having served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over 30 years and now working with businesses, I am amazed at the incredible similarities when it comes to developing strategy and planning for the successes of the organization. Both the Marines and well run businesses understand that having a good strategy and a plan to execute it will keep them on top of most situations and keep them “in the black.” In the Marines, “staying in the black” means staying on target; in business it means remaining profitable. Alarmingly, the similarity in planning ends there. Marines take crisis action planning very seriously. In business, I find tremendous attention paid to disaster recovery and little attention paid to establishing a crisis action plan.

Life is not a video game. It comes at you fast. Things happen, and there is no way to plan for it all. So what do you do? You develop solid crisis planning procedures that identify who makes up your crisis action team; your chief decision maker and keeper of your finances should be members of the team. Where the team works out of is important; a central location with the ability to communicate to the crisis site and to the organization is required at a minimum. Identify both of these elements before a crisis ever presents itself.

If you are a business owner or executive who hasn’t prepared a crisis action plan (CAP), I offer the following tried and proven procedures to help guide you.

  1. Situation Development: begins with an event having calamitous implications for the organization and ends with a report of the event to the Chief Executive.
  2. Crisis Assessment: begins with a report of the event, followed by an assessment of the situation and ends with the activation of your crisis action team.
  3. Course of Action Development: begins with the decision to activate the CAT and ends when the developed courses of action are presented to the decision maker.
  4. Course of Action Selection: begins when courses of action are presented to the decision maker and ends when a course of action is selected.
  5. Execution Planning: begins when a course of action is selected and ends when the decision is made to put the selected plan into action.
  6. Execution: begins with the decision to execute the plan, and ends when the crisis is resolved.

Today, Marines continue to deploy, on a moment’s notice, to respond successfully to everything from disaster relief to unexpected skirmishes utilizing crisis action planning procedures. They stay “in the black.” Life happens to all businesses; stay in the black by developing your crisis action procedures—now.

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Fortitude Consulting works with outstanding executives and leaders to leverage talent to dramatically improve performance and rapidly exceed goals.