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Business Continuity For Dummies by

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Looking at What Constitutes a Crisis

The British Standards Institution publication PAS 200 ‘Crisis management: guidance and good practice’ defines a crisis as:

An inherently abnormal, unstable and complex situation that represents a threat to the strategic objectives, reputation or existence of an organisation.

This definition needs a bit of unpicking. Usually, crises are inherently:

check.png Unexpected: They generally arrive unannounced and/or have unforeseen consequences.

check.png Hard to manage: If a situation was easy to handle it probably wouldn’t be a crisis.

check.png Very serious indeed: Badly handled crises can drive companies out of business, and they present serious and sustained challenges even for well-prepared ones. Although the language is rather dramatic, crises are events of such severity that they pose a threat to the very existence of your organisation.

Although many textbooks discuss different sorts of crises (and these can be useful in understanding what you may be up against and what you can do about it), to avoid getting hung up on the detail you need to consider the two general dimensions in Figure 10-1: sudden versus slow-onset crises and those originating from inside your firm and ones ...

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