Using Flowchart Diagrams for Effective Crisis Management

“The secret of crisis management is not good vs. bad; it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.” – Andy Gilman

Disasters represent the downstream effects of disruptions, disturbances, the sudden and the unplanned, or deviations from the norm in systems, processes, and procedures. In the world of modern trade and commerce, disasters can extract a heavy price in terms of the financial performance of an enterprise, the market value of a brand, company stock prices, lawsuits filed by irate citizens, penalties imposed by regulators, stakeholder dissatisfaction, impacts on the bottom line, etc.

Such scenarios demand effective crisis management, which remains a tested technique that allows brands and businesses to cope with adverse circumstances and crises. An objective mindset, complemented with a rational attitude, can assist efforts designed to manage a crisis. Time is of the essence in such situations, because effective crisis management “is the process by which an organization deals with disruptive and unexpected events that threaten to harm the organization or its stakeholders.” Pursuant to the above, a variety of plans and contingencies must find expression inside the graded dominion of modern flowcharts. Such actions enable organizations to issue a nuanced response to crises and initiate measures to contain damage.

Communication that hinges on facts should emerge as a primary plank of effective crisis management. This stance ensures all manner of stakeholders gain an appreciation of the facts that sparked the development of an adverse situation. In line with this, business operators may elect to examine a crisis from different perspectives, narrate the origins of a situation, analyze the potential impacts, outline the sinews of contingency plans, and devise a way forward. In addition, organizations must issue constant updates to embellish the process of communication, thereby engendering confidence in the actions undertaken to contain a crisis. Further, operators could endorse and implement best practices in crisis management as part of efforts to limit the outcomes of uncontrolled crises. These stages, and variations thereof, can empower efforts to drive effective crisis management in modern times.

The framing and implementation of sophisticated contingency plans remains central to effective crisis management. Such plans encode the essential ability of an organization to react to crises and reflect directly on the quality of its leadership. For instance, a commercial operator of logistics services could devise contingency plans that hinge on provision of adequate stocks of fuel, emergency measures to source qualified human talent, designate a control mechanism staffed with competent personnel, invoke emergency financial powers, initiate regular check-ins with personnel operating in the field, issue communications to customers and stakeholders, etc. Multiple versions of such plans, when designed inside flowcharts, empower said operator to ensure continuity of business operations and minimize damage to the enterprise. In addition, the spaces enclosed inside flowcharts enable operators to revise and verify the fundamentals of contingency plans. In essence, the flowchart assists modern enterprise to perform in a crisis.

Managing the reputation (and market standing) of an organization is critical to ensure the success of effective crisis management techniques. The value of such actions stems from the fact crises can quickly decimate reputations and maul a public image in the digitally connected universe. Therefore, a crisis-hit organization (or imperiled institution) could enroll the services of public relations professionals, issue statements in electronic and digital media, unfurl damage control campaigns, embark on online reputation management programs, assure stakeholders individually, reinforce quality standards to support brand reputations, etc. Flowcharts can help assemble and organize the various moving parts of such campaigns; these illustrations can prove central to the framing and implementation of damage containment techniques. In addition, flowcharts can assist strategists to improve on effective crisis management paradigms, thereby generating clear ideas on ideation and execution.

Leaders that steward effective crisis management campaigns must work to re-calibrate fire-fighting activities in tune with feedback and information received from the ground. This is a critical step because it portrays leaders as “Frankly admitting responsibility, displaying proactive willingness to change course, and consulting openly with others on new directions.” Such a stance spotlights the concept of enlightened leadership, one that has its proverbial ear to the ground. In addition, as part of effective crisis management techniques, leaders could seek advice, guidance, and assessments from consultants, specialists, and domain experts. The resulting stance can help organizations re-adjust and re-focus efforts, thus leading to the design and implementation of smarter containment measures. In such contexts, the use of flowcharts can help elevate efforts at effecting re-organization, display an active intelligence at work, and help suppress the flames of crises. Additionally, flowcharts can serve to spotlight individual victories registered in the course of managing an ongoing crisis; this can help lift morale across an organization.

Different forms and stages of crises can serve as learning opportunities that strengthen the institutional base of an organization. A crisis-ridden brand can utilize such a situation to its benefit because “brands need to use these moments as a learning tool to either learn from constructive feedback or tune out the noise.” Therefore, the early stages of a developing crisis can encourage brand strategists and brand owners to chronicle the lessons, delve deep into root causes, reflect on the developing situation, explore and ideate on potential solutions, and evaluate a range of ameliorative measures. Such a stance can massively aid efforts at effective crisis management and empower the afflicted to emerge stronger from adversity. Various forms of flowcharts can help document thoughts and learnings, investigate the extent of damage, and promote transparency in crisis response mechanisms. The output can help brands and organizations to strengthen their sinews, while retaining and reinforcing the core values espoused by a brand.

A stalwart management of crisis response mechanisms remains a defining theme of effective crisis management practices in modern times. Pursuant to this, business leaders, supervisors, and line managers involved in managing a crisis must work to provide safe operating environments for staff members, enable them to work on flexible timelines, reinforce the critical components of supply chains, strive to secure a steady stream of raw materials, uplift the mood of an afflicted organization, boost employee morale, etc. In addition, leaders must enthuse the consumer base by resorting to devices such as frequent consumer promotions and discounts on sticker prices of products and services. Further, operational leadership must portray a clear line of exit from a crisis, an act that encourages stakeholders to sharpen focus on individual duties and responsibilities. When etched inside a flowchart-based illustration, such tactics and strategies boost collective acts that promote effective crisis management.

These thoughts and ideas bear distinct possibilities for entities that seek to implement effective crisis management techniques. In terms of execution and implementation, the flowchart performs as a premier platform that aids in a variety of such efforts. However, designers and strategists must work to decompose each stage and sub-stage into units and assess opportunities for success prior to actual implementation. In addition, they must seek inputs from a broad range of stakeholders as part of efforts to deflect and contain damaging consequences.

Human intelligence and experience must provide topnotch inputs that can elevate the quality of crisis management efforts and processes. These attributes must find deployment at every stage, primarily as a bulwark against the unknown and unseen. In addition, crisis managers may elect to envisage worst case scenarios that may require deep overhauls of conventional firefighting systems and processes.