Incident and risk management relies heavily on incident management plans, risk policies, and company-wide situational awareness. Above all else, however, it relies on effective collaboration.
Having spent his career leading troops in highly volatile environments and managing teams of emergency responders, Restrata’s Head of UK and Global Command Centre Operations, Simon Marwick, understands what a collaborative response looks like.
In this article, Simon shares what he’s learnt about collaboration through his experience of incident and risk management in the energy sector.
Suggested reading: Watch our IM Webinar to learn more about what collaborative incident and risk management will look like in the future.
What do we mean by collaboration?
There are many different views of what it means to collaborate. Often, it is assumed that collaboration means treating everyone equally, with equal inputs and equal access to information. While in theory, this may sound like a smart approach, in practice, it can quickly lead to a breakdown in business and emergency response operations.
Over the past 20 years, whether in the military or in the corporate world, I’ve needed a team of people who I trust completely to successfully deliver on our objective – from securing homes in Afghanistan to safely recovering offshore personnel during an incident. Collaborating within and between teams has been essential every step of the way.
Here are five key steps that have to be taken to achieve a successful collaboration.
1. Appoint the right leader
Not everyone has the right mix of capabilities and experiences to be an effective leader. Likewise, a person who would be a great leader in one environment may not be a good fit in a different setting. It’s essential to understand the type of leader that’s needed and appoint someone with the necessary attributes. A leader should always have a clear understanding of their team’s priorities and should be focused on the task at hand. The leader of an incident management task, for example, should be a strong communicator, calm under pressure, and highly skilled at problem-solving.
2. Set clear expectations
The key to effective collaboration is ensuring that everyone understands what contributions they are required to make, and has the tools needed to deliver these. The management process must be clear, concise, and direct. Setting expectations and clearly assigning tasks must happen continuously throughout the collaborative process, rather than only being set out at the start. This is especially important when the level of risk is high and workers are required to collaborate with remote teams, such as those on offshore sites.
3. Establish a collaborative mindset
Incident and risk management demands collaboration. Fostering a collaborative mindset throughout your team takes time, guidance, and practice. When other stakeholders are involved, investing time to strengthen working relationships and build trust is critical. Not only can this help to increase communication within your team, but it can also reduce the potential impact of an incident.
4. Accept that not everyone has an equal say
This may be slightly controversial, but effective collaboration does not require everyone to have an equal say. It requires everyone to play their part to the best of their abilities in a coordinated way. For collaboration to effectively deliver on a goal, some people within a group will have greater influence or more input than others. Successful incident and risk management requires everyone to understand and accept this position.
5. Make sharing information easy
Without fast access to trusted information, collaboration will fail. This can lead to incident escalation, reputation damage, and, in the worst case, reduced lone worker safety. Clear processes, tools, training, and management solutions are needed to ensure a consistent flow of information to the right people at the right time. This is where the role of technology in effective incident management is especially important.
Again, not everyone should have or expect to have equal access to information, but everyone should be aware of their role. A clear system that manages what information people can see, from risk assessments to worker tracking data, will ensure that everyone stays focused on their own tasks, rather than being distracted by data that is not relevant to them.
Improve outcomes through collaboration
Incident and risk management teaches us that collaboration should be driven by trust, leadership, and communication. With the help of technology, companies can improve the effectiveness of their collaboration, and, in turn, improve incident outcomes.
Restrata Platform connects decision-makers in global organisations to information on the ground, for better safety and security decision-making. To learn more, explore resilienceOS today.
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