Leaders of businesses and other organizations continuously face a wide range of opportunities and a correspondingly wide array of associated risks - opportunities to produce private and social value that generate associated hazards to their business prospects, their property, their people, their communities … and to themselves.
Drawing on principles and processes developed for the management of rapidly-evolving, high intensity events, this course focuses on the management of potential downside risks arising as opportunities are pursued. In the last several years, we have witnessed a financial system meltdown; untold destruction from seismic events in China, Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan; violent and nonviolent political revolutions (some successful and some not) in a dozen or more countries; major supply chain disruptions; internal and cross-border migrations of millions of people; worldwide spread of a flu virus that initially was highly virulent; cruise ships adrift and on the rocks; multiple major product recalls; and countless other physical and reputational events - all of which posed enormous leadership challenges for companies, agencies, and other organizations involved in response or caught up directly in the events.
Some loss from events like these may be inevitable - but there is often a (justified!) feeling by many after such events that the losses were larger than they should have been or needed to be. Thus, an important opportunity for value-generation lies in managing downside risks associated with upside opportunities more effectively - both before, during and after the events.
This course examines the leadership and strategy issues faced by leaders in these various kinds of situations, circumstances, and roles. It will draw on principles and concepts of emergency management, and will examine best organizational processes and practices, including the Incident Management System (a broadly-applicable and widely-embraced structure for organizing teams to manage crisis situations).
The course will go beyond looking "into the moment" of crisis, taking a much broader strategy perspective on enterprise risk management to include prevention and preparation before an event takes place and recovery after an event in addition to actions taken during an event. Among the questions this course will address are these:
- What are the best techniques and tools for building a more effective and comprehensive enterprise risk management strategy and process?
- Why don't we - and how can we - do a better job of avoiding, preparing for, and coping with the downside risks associated with our best opportunities?
- What are the best ways to organize to handle high-consequence, high-uncertainty, rapidly-evolving events?
- What are the key skills needed by leaders in such situations - and what behaviors are most important and helpful?
- What are the special strategy and leadership challenges faced by firms that act as suppliers of emergency-related commodities and services to communities and/or to response organizations?
- How can firms acting as good neighbors or as suppliers best coordinate with or be integrated into the overall response system in major emergency situations?
- What needs to be done in advance to create the relationships and interface infrastructure that will permit effective coordination and integration in the moment?
- What are the distinctive challenges that must be faced during the (often very lengthy) period of recovery - and how best can we organize in advance and organize during the recovery to reduce the overall social cost as small as possible?