We at Kith are excited to tell you about a new tool that we have developed to help organizations get a better handle on their own crisis readiness: the Kith CReD Snapshot (launched July 25, 2019).
CReD stands for Crisis Readiness Diagnostic, but it also takes a cue from the slang word “cred,” which is short for “credibility.” When reputations are at stake during a crisis, the credibility and speed of response can be the difference between a reputation saved and a reputation in tatters. We have developed the Kith CReD Snapshot to provide a quick, high-level picture of an organization’s current state of crisis readiness. It is the first step of a journey toward improved readiness, and it’s a journey that can be taken before a crisis occurs.
Too often, we’ve seen organizations that have failed to recognize potential issues with their crisis response capability before a crisis hits them. We believe a crisis does not develop an organization’s skill sets. It reveals them. Often, it reveals gaps and deficiencies in skill sets and deployable assets that are important to effective crisis response, and it leads to executives saying things like, “We weren’t really prepared for that” or “We could have done that better” once the dust settles.
We often see our clients’ gaps in personnel, processes or organizational structure in real-time while we are helping them respond to an unfolding crisis. What if we could develop a tool to help organizations identify, quantify and prioritize these kinds of issues while the sun is shining instead of when their house is on fire?
That question led us on a journey of our own.
Years of experience helping clients in crisis led us to realize that gaps in crisis preparedness ultimately reduce the speed of an organization’s response, making it less effective – potentially ineffective – than when an organization’s core values and chain of command are properly aligned. A slow and ineffective response will prolong the disruption a crisis is causing to an organization, its business, its people and its reputation.
Kith’s Equation of Crisis Success is the framework we use to conceptualize the key components of a speedy, effective response.
If you are clear on core values and they are aligned with a clear chain of command, then you have the capability of speed. If core values or the chain of command are unclear, or if there is misalignment between them, then there is likely going to be delays in getting your message out to key stakeholders, which in turn leads to further erosion in your reputation. We believe these misalignments can be discovered without the pressures created by a real-time crisis. Our goal was to create a tool that could quantify these misalignments and gaps in readiness.
Our experience informs us that preparing for a crisis has little to do with the boxes on an organization chart or a set of binders gathering dust on executives’ shelves. How an organization coordinates its resources and collaborates are far more important determinants of success. That led us to McKinsey’s 7-S framework of organizational effectiveness.
The 7-S framework, through its evaluation of an organization’s hard and soft assets, focuses attention on coordination in the face of complex organizational hierarchies. Each S is just as important as the others. Their equality and interdependence stood in sharp contrast to the rigid organizational charts and hierarchical decision-making processes that defined most organizations at the time the 7-S framework was developed in the late 1970s. It was deployed to help big businesses “bust silos” and develop a more collaborative culture to improve their overall efficiency as businesses, which in turn improved their profitability.
When we started looking at the 7-S’s through the lens of Kith’s Equation of Success, we had an epiphany. McKinsey’s notions of Strategy, Style, Skills and Shared Values were all aspects of what we call Core Values, and the remaining S’s – Staff, Structure and Systems – neatly fit within our concept of Chain of Command. Instead of looking at overall organizational efficiency to improve profitability, as McKinsey does, we focus on the efficiency of crisis response with a goal of preserving the organization’s reputation.
The Kith CReD Snapshot leverages McKinsey’s 7-S framework to assess an organization’s current state of readiness, compare it to the average readiness of others who have used it, and produce a roadmap toward a future, improved state of readiness. It’s an online tool that permits crisis response leaders to evaluate their own readiness by thoughtfully answering a short series of questions. It produces a CReD Score, which is an overall measure of an organization’s current state of readiness, which can then be compared to the average readiness of others who have already taken the Kith CReD Snapshot.
This provides not only a big-picture view of how an organization’s crisis readiness stacks up against the herd but also an indication of which of the 7-S’s needs improvement. The Kith CReD Snapshot reveals gaps in different aspects of crisis readiness without needing a crisis to reveal them for you.
The Kith CReD Snapshot does this at a fairly high level. There are just two questions – some with multiple parts – for each of the 7-S’s, and the whole assessment takes around 10 minutes to complete. It is intended to begin a journey toward improved crisis readiness. That journey can be undertaken by an organization on its own based on the insights provided by the CReD Score, or Kith can help guide that journey with specific tools and tactics to address specific gaps.
One of those tools is a more comprehensive version of the Kith CReD Snapshot that we customize for each organization’s unique structure and culture. Kith CReD is a longer survey that we deploy across an organization to get a comprehensive picture of perceived readiness and gaps in Core Values and Chain of Command. It provides similar insights to the Snapshot version, just at a much more granular and actionable level.
If you’re having doubts about your organization’s crisis response, or you’re interested in being guided through a thoughtful, engaging assessment of your organization’s current state of crisis readiness, or if you’re curious about where your readiness stacks up against “the herd,” then we encourage you to spend the next 10 or so minutes taking the Kith CReD Snapshot. The insights it provides are yours to use without obligation, but of course we would enjoy the opportunity to discuss the journey with you.
Perhaps the most important lesson is this: do not wait for a crisis to reveal your weaknesses – and it will – when there are actionable steps that any organization can undertake to identify and address those weaknesses while the sun is shining.
The Kith CReD Snapshot launched on July 25, 2019.