Crises have always occurred, but we are now seeing an increase in their type, complexity and frequency. However, there is no need for panic just yet, Control Risks principal Matthew Oyston explains. 

Companies face an increasingly complex global environment, complete with complicated and interconnected risks that can inflict significant damage on reputation, brand and profitability.

Control Risks principal Matthew Oyston explains: “Crises have always occurred, but we are now seeing an increase in their type, complexity and frequency. However, there is no need for panic. You can still successfully navigate a complex situation by combining traditional crisis management protocol with today’s techniques and technologies”

Firms can successfully navigate these challenges by taking a more holistic approach to crisis management that stresses proactive risk management, effective collaboration and continuous improvement, all while embracing ‘old-world’ crisis management orthodoxy with modern-day technologies and techniques, says Oyston.

In doing so, companies will naturally experience a variety of benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, all focused on fewer crises occurring, less impact should they occur, and fewer questions and more confidence from boards of directors, shareholders, partners, employees and customers about the company’s readiness.

“We often hear the term ‘continuous improvement’ being used, but this is more than just a buzzword, it is a vital element that needs to be formalised when evaluating a crisis to help understand how the incident occurred and what can be improved next time it hits.


Perhaps most importantly, these steps can result in a competitive advantage for the company that embraces these prinicples. Oyston says odds are that many of that company’s competitors are not taking similar approaches or are doing so in a fragmented, underinvested manner. This leaves them exposed to unnecessary and unrelenting levels of risk exposure should a crisis occur that impacts a large geographic area (e.g., natural disaster), industry (e.g., collapse of a foreign market), or general way of living and working (e.g., terrorism). The prepared company, on the other hand, is not only able to withstand the crisis but may also come out ahead of its competitors when the crisis subsides. 

“Our clients will often spend large amount of effort ensuring that they are formalising their continuous improvement mechanism for things like the ISO9001 certification, and rightfully so, but we don’t often see the same formalisation or rigour when evaluating a crises. They tend to adapt a “business as usual” approach, when in reality, the repercussions of not improving or applying lessons learnt the next time you need to respond to a crisis could be potentially devastating” continues Oyston.

For more information on crisis mnagement in the modern age, visit Control Risks here