Look after your healthTake the first Horseman, Pestilence. Think of that as anything that could go viral – for example, an outbreak of food poisoning or a communicable disease, which could well happen to large campus-based organisations, or those located in extreme environments. Alternatively, it could be a computer virus, or the rapid spread of false information online.
Prepare for a fightThe second Horseman is War. Many organisations nowadays face the threat of cyber or even terrorist attacks. Businesses can also come up against protests and disruption from pressure groups. That type of action is not just a communications issue, but an operational one. So organisations need to have holistic crisis plans in place. For example, if your property is targeted, do front-of-house staff know to alert the press office? If all landlines and emails go down, do you have a way of contacting relevant teams? Are there protocols in place for how to handle the media door-stepping you? Appropriately enough for the War analogy, the military provides a good point of reference. Armies not only plan for multiple eventualities, but they rehearse. There are two reasons for this: first, you get to stress-test your plans, and second you build organisational muscle memory so that when it happens for real, it’s familiar and you’re not thrown off course. So if you’re an organisation for which the threat of some sort of attack is real, you need to do likewise – plan, but then rehearse.
The third Horseman is Famine. By that I mean a lack of resources. Organisations should ask themselves honestly, “what are the things that we could run out of?” Be it products, spare parts, electricity, water, parking spaces, entry passes for events, or on-call staff, businesses should plan accordingly. Read more: Business lessons from Hargreaves Lansdown’s founder