What’s the worst that could happen?

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
Rahm Emanuel

In the modern day, most CSPs simply couldn’t operate if a crisis erupted that made their OSS / BSS inoperable. In fact, I recently heard a story of staff being sent home for the day in one such instance.

The key to managing a crisis is to start planning in the calmness before a crisis exists… of course.

The three elements of a crisis (according to Seeger, Sellnow and Ulmer) are:

  1. A threat to the organization
  2. The element of surprise
  3. A short decision time

A crisis should be less of a crisis if points 2 and 3 are identified and mitigated during pre-planning.

If you start with the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and work back from there, you’ll probably be able to envisage the ultimate crises. In the case of an OSS, the worst that could happen is the catastrophic loss of primary OSS and the failure of the secondary (if you have one) to take over.

Working back further, you’ll probably even be able to identify most of the factors that could lead to these crises. This could include Loss of Data Centre (including loss of life), Disaster Recovery / backup / restore failure, etc.

Lergbinger identified the following eight types of crises that can act as a brainstorming tool for analysing what crises might affect your OSS:

  • Natural disaster
  • Technological crises
  • Confrontation
  • Malevolence
  • Organizational Misdeeds
  • Workplace Violence
  • Rumours
  • Terrorist attacks/man-made disasters

Irrespective of the triggers that you identify, the keys to your OSS crisis management plan are developing and practising a plan that clearly defines Crisis Leadership and Crisis Communication. Your OSS Crisis Management plan has to build in the flexibility to cope with unimagined crises too.

In my opinion, a Crisis leader must be:

  • Visible – so that everyone is able to identify the source of communications
  • Concise / Consistent – so that there is no confusion about what needs to be done
  • Transparent – so that everyone knows exactly what has happened and is happening, without spin

How’s your OSS Crisis Management plan looking?

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