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Director, Forensic Services at PwC Germany
Tel.: +49 69 9585-5831
In an increasingly connected world, companies more and more frequently face crisis situations with the potential to disrupt operations, damage reputations, or threaten the organization in other ways. Crises can happen anywhere, anytime, and for any number of reasons – be it a corruption scandal that causes a corporate leader to step down, a data breach that shakes customer confidence, or quality issues that trigger a product recall.
The way in which businesses prepare for and respond to disruptive events can determine how well they recover. In order to take swift control of a crisis, companies must develop crisis response plans, stabilize business operations, and draw up a strategy for the future. We can support you through all of these critical waves of response by assembling multidisciplinary specialists across the PwC network.
The way a company prepares and responds determines how it will recover from difficult situations, and whether it emerges stronger. Because crises tend to follow a similar pattern, no matter what the trigger is, proper preparation is possible – even for unforeseen events in particular.
We rely on a range of proven methodologies and formats to support you with your crisis management in the best way possible. Depending on your needs, we assemble experts from different subject areas, including legal and regulatory, PR and communications, and finance and operations.
Before a crisis threatens your organisation, and even in the thick of an unplanned event, targeted initiatives can help assess your preparedness strengths and vulnerabilities – and improve your ability to respond and emerge stronger. A crisis preparedness assessment provides a detailed snapshot of your organisation’s current crisis-management capabilities; clear, measurable maturity score benchmarking; and a prioritised roadmap for enhancing your program.
An integrated crisis management program is essential for remaining confident when navigating a crisis. We help you set up an enterprise-wide program which generally includes program strategy and governance model, severity matrix and escalation triggers, crisis management team structures, roadmap and implementation schedule, and program maintenance plan. With our specialists collaborating across your organisation, you’ll develop a framework for your response – and a deeper understanding of crisis management to help you emerge stronger when disruptions strike.
An outside perspective to poke holes in the right places can be a valuable asset. Our crisis strategy and scenario planning approach involves working with you to hypothesise potential outcomes, to draft approaches to mitigate their impacts, and to help you emerge confidently prepared to address any curveball that might come your way. The framework allows you to respond to immediate needs while looking ahead to mitigate possible strategy-derailing events.
Our Global Crisis Survey 2021 has shown that companies with a crisis plan are significantly better off after a disruptive event than their peers who are unprepared. Contingency plans form the basis for an effective crisis management program, providing structure and orientation for confidently mastering the challenges posed by the sudden occurrence of exceptional situations. We help you create crisis plans, each tailored to your expectations, needs, operating environment and culture.
Crisis can be a catalyst to drive strategic transformation, but success depends on an effective and coordinated response. You must respond to a burning fire while you continue to run the business, and simultaneously plan ahead for other unanticipated disruptors. The ability to manage a crisis through these discrete lenses takes practice. Having support to guide you through potential scenarios can be a meaningful way to put out the fire – and to seize opportunity. Our strategic approach to crisis response draws on decades of experience at the forefront of some of the most highly publicised corporate crises. We know what works, and we’ll apply that knowledge to your organisation’s circumstances and help you emerge stronger.
In a crisis, companies instinctively go into a reactive state: Whatever comes at you, you try to swat away. But playing defense doesn’t set you up to emerge stronger. Our Crisis Command Center helps you respond methodically and strategically, with a clear governance structure in place from day one. While you manage the crisis, we continuously monitor and evaluate your progress and recommend appropriate adjustments. With the help of PwC’s Crisis Management Center, you do not remain trapped in a reactive stance but can address challenges in a prioritised manner and take advantage of strategic opportunities.
Clear and timely communications in a crisis are critical in bringing in trust and establishing stability. We help you develop an effective communications strategy while keeping an eye on ongoing media coverage and public perception. This allows you to respond quickly and professionally in a crisis, maintain confidence from your workforce and critical stakeholders and minimise reputational risks.
In our 2021 Global Crisis Survey, fewer than 30% of respondents wholeheartedly agreed that relevant stakeholders had been engaged throughout the COVID-19 crisis and that the necessary information had been communicated in a timely manner. Stakeholder mapping and engagement provides a framework to identify your stakeholder population, assess their impact and influence, and create opportunities to engage with them before or during a crisis. The result is a forward-thinking, unified approach that can turn stakeholders into allies.
In high-stress situations, people tend to revert to their lowest confidence threshold – which means that no matter how good your crisis plan is, it can prove ineffective if your team isn’t comfortable with their roles and responsibilities. Organisations that emerge stronger from a crisis invest time and effort to prepare their teams. By helping each responder understand their role and create plans for each potential scenario, our approach results in a more cohesive, confident response.
Disruption is inevitable. What matters is an organisation's ability to emerge stronger from crisis, fueled by an enterprise-wide foundation of business resilience. We measure that ability in four fundamental pillars:
A mature organisation is able to maintain a state of informed preparedness, continue essential mission critical functions despite a disruption or outage, execute response procedures to the extent possible during a disruption, and leverage knowledge from previous disruptions to enhance business resilience processes.
To help your business get there, PwC adopts a holistic strategy that addresses several core aspects of resilience, including crisis response, incident management, physical security, disaster recovery, and business continuity management.
Organisations that have experienced a crisis understand that no matter how they responded, there’s always room for improvement. Performing an After Action Review is a meaningful exercise – for your team and for your stakeholders, who will recognise your emphasis on continuous learning. The review yields insights that enable your team to identify and prioritise actionable enhancements. And depending on the nature of the crisis, ‘real-time’ or ‘in-flight’ reviews can also be beneficial, particularly if you’re dealing with a long-term situation that requires course-correction along the way.
We live in a world of constant change. For companies and senior management, this constantly opens up new opportunities. But at the same time, they are also confronted with new risks. Among the top worries of CEOs: cyber risks and geopolitical conflicts. To survive in this mix, they need to invest in their resilience. You want to know how senior management can prepare their crisis management for cyber risks? How to test their own resilience and how to emerge stronger from a crisis? Our guide offers high-level orientation for senior management.
Crisis and disruption will happen – so how can organisations and their leaders prepare? Our experts Sam Saramatunga, Claudia van den Heuvel and Jane He discuss the scope and meaning of crisis and the elements of resilient crisis leadership.
Crises can have catastrophic consequences for companies – or they can reveal the strength, quality, and resilience of your organization. Every crisis is also an opportunity!