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By Dave Oshlag, W5 Templates

Crisis management as of March 2020, in a world-wide effort to combat COVID-19 took on a whole new meaning. Never before in the history of the United States, not even during WWI, WWII or post 9/11, has the US and the world economy simultaneously gone off line.

According to the 2019 PwC Global Crisis Survey1 there is a total of 7 broad crisis types (% of occurrence):

• Operational (53%)

• Technological (33%)

• Humanitarian (29%)

• Financial (28%)

• Legal (24%)

• Human Capital (21%)

• Reputational (20%)

During the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, all the above, all happened at the same time. A disruption of unprecedented proportion.

Prior to COVID-19, 7 in 10 company leaders had experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last 5 years – today that number is 100% ! If you’re a business leader, this is why your head is spinning, as you try and make sense of what has transpired. Having a combined Operational, Technological, Humanitarian, Financial, Legal, Human Capital and Reputational Crisis is not a normal business event. Crisis preparedness, just took on a whole new meaning for every business regardless of size, sector or geography. Those companies that actively planned and had a crisis management plan in place clearly have an advantage. Being prepared for a crisis, makes it easier to respond and then communicate to the business customers or stakeholders how the company is going to act.

Good News - 42% of companies that prepared for a crisis, come out in a better place than where they were previously1. However, the percentage of companies who have a crisis plan in place is 62%, and just 49% of those companies have an updated crisis plan2. What’s not clear is how often crisis plans are updated.

Where do you go from here?

In the world of project management, the last thing on the “to do” list, post project (event) analysis, is now mandatory vs. a nice to have. Lessons learned should be an on-going activity that every business is actively practicing. This is important stuff, which might be needed again in the future – hopefully not to the same extent, but clearly having a plan of action in the face of either a CRISIS MANAGEMENT POST COVID-19 health or economic crisis or possibly both, is a must have. If you haven’t started documenting what you’ve learned, it’s not too late to start. Make a list of each major decision you’ve made over the last couple of months. What did you have to deal with? If eligible for any of the government assistance programs, were your fi nancials up to date and ready to submit?

For companies relying on suppliers, how many of them were single source and was that an issue? Operationally, were you able to get your fi nished goods to market? Was there an emergency communication system to inform employees how the company was responding and when? Was your business data / IT system set up to move with you if you were no longer able to work from your main offi ce? What was your emergency cash/fi nancial plan? Final question: What are your base assets and if your current business model is no longer viable, can you pivot or partner with another company to make something else which would be in demand, in a health and/ or economic crisis?


2019 PwC Global Crisis Survey (

2/5/20 PRNews article, Seth Arenstein citing CSA Crisis Survey ( 

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Dave Oshlag is President of Project Marketing Associates ( and CEO of W5Templates ( He offers a practical and results-oriented approach to Project Management and CRM based on 25+ years of business experience.