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Conference – “Identify and manage corporate emergencies”

Table ronde - Repérer et traiter l’urgence en entreprise

On October 6th, in front of a hundred decision makers from investment banks and private equity firms, Amadeus-Dirigeants and HEC Business School Alumni (“Banque d’Affaires et Capital Investissement” group), organized a conference on the topic of “identifying and managing corporate emergencies”. Moderated by Jean-Marc Vittori, editorial writer at Les Echos, this conference brought together Charles Canetti, Chairman of Amadeus-Executives and co-author of the book “Manage Emergencies”, General Xavier Jarry, former Commander in Chief of the French Strategic Air Force, and Patrick Berthon, CEO of Tokheim, a leading player in the petrol distribution sector.

What qualifies as a Corporate Emergency?

It is situation where risks arise that are both very serious and about to materialize. Such risks have the potential to drive a company into areas of turbulence, with unforeseen and unknown consequences. In these situations, top executives often find themselves at a loss for solutions; You simply cannot improvise when dealing with an emergency situation. It’s an expert job.

5 recommendations to identify and handle corporate emergencies

  1. Detecting « weak signals » is essential and requires a sense of awareness, the ability to listen and some good old common sense.
  2. Calling upon a specialist, such as an interim executive or an operations expert, is often a good idea.
  3. Shift to « command mode »! Be a directive leader. This is not the time for consensus management!
  4. Break the rules! It’s a key management tool in emergency situations. Focus on short term objectives. Change pace. Initiate daily emergency meetings. Hold meetings in the field or on the plant floor.
  5. Communicate! This is crucial. Top management needs to set and share goals and the actions plans to reach them. This requires perfect coordination between the company executive and the interim executive. “It is key to announce when the emergency is over, so that the company can shift back to “normal mode” and regain some sense of serenity…while, ideally, learning from the experience” concludes Charles Canetti.