Crises continue to be in our newspaper headlines and the lead stories on radio and television broadcasts. And crises continue to affect businesses in many forms and continue to occur without notice. But what’s happening where we work in response to this continuing trend of crises? Are businesses preparing for crises by developing crisis management plans? Do you know if your company has a crisis management plan or a business disaster recovery plan? Do they have a crisis communication plan?

The American Management Association did a survey in August & September 2005 and what that survey revealed is summarized below:

AMA surveyed 105 Executive Members and customers during the months of August and September 2005 to determine if crisis management plans were, indeed, in place. According to the results, more than half (60%) of all U.S. companies surveyed have crisis management plans, a downward trend since 2003 (64%). Among those companies that do have crisis management plans, they have also addressed concerns different from those of previous years. The greatest concern in 2005 was for natural disasters (77%), followed by more traditional risks such as technology system failures (73%), and industrial accidents (65%), as well as risks from crime (31%), terrorism (46%) and major fraud (18%).

When planning for a crisis communication plan, companies are focused more closely on their senior management team (79%), and employees (84%), than on
family members (38%).

More than half of all respondents say that their organization has designated a crisis management team (56%) and half have conducted crisis drills or simulations (50%). And 38% have trained key personnel in crisis management skills.

Nearly half of the companies surveyed offered employees formal training on
security procedures (52%), and most of those that do (90%), receive training once
a year or less.

The survey also reveals that companies are also concerned with employee
screening and selection (27%—a high level of concern) and business resumption
planning (34%). They are less concerned about travel (13%) and parking lot safety

After reviewing the results of the AMA survey, the most striking things to me that should cause at least attention, if not alarm, are the following:
+ Only 60% of businesses have a crisis management plan and that is less than in the 2003 AMA survey.
+ Only 56% of the businesses with a plan have designated a crisis management team
+ Only 50% of the businesses with plans have conducted crisis drills or simulations
+ Only 38% of the businesses with plans have personnel trained in crisis management skills
+ 90% of the businesses with plans have formal training only once each year

My professional experience is that more than 90% of the businesses I have contacted or
have had some business relationship with since 1982 did not have a crisis management
plan when I met them. And the companies that have followed-up on developing a crisis
management plan did so after some crisis occurred or after serious discussions about
the value of a crisis management plan and the risks of not having a crisis management
plan. What about your company – do you know if it has a crisis management plan? If it does have a plan are you familiar with any part of it?

The AMA survey results are cause for alarm, in my opinion, and many more businesses need to be aware of what is happening with crisis management at work today. Ownership and senior management must recognize the problem and the risk factors and then develop and implement a strong crisis management plan for the organization. Without a strong crisis management and crisis communications plan, businesses can become frozen with indecision during a crisis. The company can become paralyzed without a strategic organized framework to respond to the crisis. And the company can literally be devastated and actually fold due to a lack of crisis management planning.

Do you know where your crisis management and crisis communication plans are? If you answered NO, then you and the plans will be missing in action when the next crisis occurs. If you are interested in learning more about the importance of crisis management planning and crisis communications planning to address the major impact a crisis can have on the short and long term performance of your company, please contact Glenn Ebersole through his website at or email Glenn at

Author's Bio: 

J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm.

He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is the author of "Glenn's Guiding Lines - Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach" a monthly newsletter and has published more than 350 business articles.

Ebersole began his multi-faceted career in 1970 with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and worked in various transportation-related departments. During his government service he traveled throughout the United States directing a variety of special transportation-related projects, including involvement in the marketing and public relations parts of these projects as well. During his state government service he received accolades from legislators and cabinet members.

Ebersole’s distinguished career includes working with several internationally known celebrities on special projects and numerous personal speaking appearances at local, state, national, & international conferences across the country. Glenn acts as a publicist and provides professional management for artistic & athletic personalities, including retired NFL players.

A native of Lancaster, PA, Ebersole is also a Registered Professional Engineer in five states and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Degree in Engineering Science from the Pennsylvania State University. He is listed in: Who’s Who In The East; Who’s Who In Finance & Industry; Who’s Who Of Emerging Leaders In America; Who’s Who In Advertising; Who’s Who in Science and Engineering; Who’s Who In America; and Who’s Who In The World. He is also a lifetime member of The Pennsylvania Society.