One of the key decisions to be made when putting your business continuity plans together is who should lead the incident management team. It can also be one of the trickiest.
Often, the most senior person in the incident management team is given the role by default. But whilst the person needs to be senior enough to have some 'clout', seniority in itself isn't enough. The qualities that make a good operational manager don't necessarily guarantee a good crisis manager.
A good crisis manager is able to take quick and decisive action, often under extreme pressure. He/she is a natural leader, who commands respect and is able to motivate a team. He/she needs to be flexible and adaptable as well as being highly motivated him/herself. And he/she needs to be an excellent communicator, at all levels.
A background in command and control may be an advantage, and there may be other more suitable candidates within the organisation than the most senior manager.
Consider, for instance, ex-military or ex-police officers who may have some of the required attributes, although a good knowledge of the business is also needed. And beware, this can be a sensitive subject, often involving internal politics, which may have to be handled tactfully.
In a crisis, having the right person in charge could be the difference between success or failure. So think carefully, and choose your crisis manager wisely.