Maximise Time: A Key Factor in Crisis Management


In times of crisis, every second counts. The swiftness of our response can mean the difference between life and death. Whether strategising in the boardroom, coordinating efforts at the planning level or executing emergency response on the ground, the importance of time cannot be overstated.

At the core of crisis management lies the need to transition from a reactive stance to a proactive one. This shift enables us to anticipate challenges, mobilise resources, and chart a course towards resolution. It’s about being on the front foot, staying ahead of the problem, and proactively addressing issues before they escalate.

On the front lines of emergency response, time-saving measures are crucial. This includes thorough training, familiarity with equipment, defined roles, and seamless teamwork. Effective communication through warning orders and clear directives ensures that everyone understands their tasks, facilitating swift and efficient action.

Moving up to the Incident Management Team and Crisis Management Team levels, immediate action drills are supplemented by strategic decision-making. While checklists and playbooks provide guidance, the emphasis shifts to evaluating available information, making informed decisions, allocating resources, and monitoring progress. This is where concepts like the Deeming Cycle and OODA Loop come into play, helping teams navigate through uncertainty with agility.

Deeming Cycle                                                                       


A critical aspect of crisis management is the provision of support from higher-level teams to those on the ground. The timeliness and effectiveness of this support directly impact the stress levels of frontline responders. Late or inadequate support only adds to the pressure, underscoring the importance of efficiency at every level.

Conversely, timely and actionable support alleviates stress and empowers teams to make a meaningful impact. Therefore, as leaders within Crisis Management or Incident Management Teams, our focus should be on optimising processes to “make time” for frontline responders. Whether it’s streamlining stakeholder engagement, securing necessary resources, or executing pre-planned activities, every effort counts towards buying time for effective action.

In military terms, this ability to deploy resources efficiently is referred to as Battle Procedure. The same principles can be applied to business contexts, emphasising the importance of getting the right team of people, with the right training and equipment, to the right place as smoothly as possible.

  • Concurrent activity – can you delegate tasks and responsibilities so that multiple activities are being coordinated at the same time, potentially through the Chief of Staff.
  • Anticipation – through our experience, we can anticipate what may be required in the future and have it ready, rather than wait to be asked.  Is there information that the team will need to make a decision that is held elsewhere that you can get hold of? Would a map or diagram help understanding? Do we know the phone numbers of contractors that might be needed later?
  • Knowledge – are we as familiar with the processes, equipment, ways of working, contractors etc as we can be? If not, do we know where to find the information?
  • Efficient drills – where something is repeated several times, can we implement it quickly? For example, the setting up of the Teams channel, updating the digital boards, conducting planning cycles and meetings.  Efficiency comes with familiarity, which is sometimes referred to as “muscle memory” and is the reason for exercising.  Once we have mastered a process, it can be done quickly and save time, that can be used more productively elsewhere.

In essence, time is a precious commodity in crisis management. Whether it’s saving lives, mitigating environmental damage, protecting property, or safeguarding reputation, efficiency is paramount. By refining our processes, implementing effective communication channels, and empowering frontline responders, we can expedite response efforts and deliver optimal outcomes in the face of adversity.

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