A recurring theme from this year’s crisis management conference was that crisis management should be guided by an organisation’s values as much as they guide day-to-day business. An organisation’s strategic mission and values set out the long-term direction for a company – where they want to go and how they are going to get there, that is, what strategies and actions are required to achieve that mission. Crisis management is an organisational process that is surely not exempt from this, as every decision made during a crisis should seek to protect the organisation’s core values and help it stay on course to achieving that mission.

To ensure that core values drive the crisis response process, they should be clearly documented within the crisis manual. An example of this is the National Decision Model released by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to replace the Conflict Management Model. The single point of differentiation within this new model is that it presents the “Statement of Mission and Values” at the core of the decision process to guide police decision making. The diagram very clearly states that at every point of consideration, the decision maker should reflect back on the police service’s mission and values, to check these are still being adhered to. In the case of the police service, its crucial mission is to create safer communities by upholding the law fairly and firmly. This is important in their day to day business and arguably becomes even more important in incidents of escalated threat.

The same principle should apply for commercial private sector organisations in their approach to crisis management. All actions should be in the context of the organisation’s core values and objectives.

However, this is of course a paradigm, and a future blog will discuss times when this is complex to achieve or maybe even not ideal.