Perspectives

Using your COVID-19 command center to build long-term resiliency

With a strong command center directing traffic, an organization can turn crisis response into a core competency

A command center can help an organization rebuild, restore, and recover – which can do even more than keep the lights on and get operations going again. A command center can become a powerful catalyst for overdue changes and build an organization’s long-term ability to respond and recover from future crises.

A command center serves as the face and arms of an organization’s leadership in steering an organization to the recovery phase and beyond. The right time to activate the recovery plan will vary across geographies and sectors and even among different companies in the same geography and sector. Regions where the infection rate has subsided will be more likely to sustain activation than regions where the disease is still spreading. Sectors that have suffered a lesser impact, such as media or technology, may shift to recovery much earlier than heavily affected sectors such as transportation or leisure. And each company will likely have its own, localized conditions: a widely-dispersed back-office support center may be able to begin recovery efforts sooner than close-quartered operating units. Executives can expect a mix of signals and indicators to sort through, business conditions to observe, regulatory and legal actions to consider, and investor expectations to meet. No single answer will be correct for all organizations and all regions.

The command center is expected to sort through these issues. It is a cross-functional leadership hub to help manage the organization by performing the following actions and priorities:

  • Creating situational awareness of the most urgent issues and directing them to key decision-makers. 
  • Setting clear strategic objectives and indicators to monitor progress and measure success so that the organization moves from crisis management and response to project management and recovery 
  • Supporting strategic trust drivers necessary to the organization and its stakeholders
  • Analyzing and assessing incoming information and communicating accurate, reassuring, and helpful information to stakeholders
  • Building organizational resilience as a long-term competitive advantage
  • Balancing near-term health, safety, and continuity goals with long-term planning and consideration of tactical and strategic consequences of crisis
  • Making recommendations and escalating strategic challenges to executives
  • Capturing key lessons
  • Performing ongoing scenario planning, planning alternate responses
  • Enhancing response capabilities
Using your COVID-19 command center to build long-term resiliency
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