08 November, 2021

Once upon a pandemic: Reflections on Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery

By: Omar Abdul-Hafiz

Vector of two men discussing statistics about the COVID impact.
Around this time last year, the world was still freshly coping with the sudden and forceful impact of the COVID pandemic. Lockdowns were still strictly applied in many parts of the world and the vaccines were still in their early research stages.

Numerous studies and articles were written about the different aspects of the pandemic and lessons that we can pick up from it for the future. All these studies, however, point in one direction:

In order for businesses to survive through perilous circumstances, they need a strong ability to adapt, make well-informed on-spot decisions, and also learn from mistakes and improve accordingly.

In light of that, this article sheds the light on some of the core elements that need to be in place for successful crisis navigation.

A practical context

The year 2020 certainly went down in history as one of the most dramatic years that humanity has ever seen. Especially in the business world, the lessons that could be learned must not be overlooked. For example, the COVID-19 crisis gave us a hard lesson about the significance of having a business continuity plan (BCP) in place and ready to go into action whenever necessity calls. Other lessons like this one can also be found in virtually every facet of business, from education to insurance trends.

Taking a deeper look

Thus, to put these facts in a practical context, it is worth looking at some of the main lessons provided by business professionals. These lessons give us a better idea of how to come out of such great disasters with as minimal damage as possible and make improvements for the future. Two of such lessons are presented by PwC.

In two separate articles, PwC presents major aspects of successful crisis navigation including the role of sound leadership that are worth contemplating side-by-side. They are as follows.

Two types of action review:

According to PwC, crisis response can take two main scenarios:
  • In-flight review: In the middle of a big crisis, we may need to come up with a prolonged response. Thus, with in-flight review, assessment happens in the middle of the situation and enables us to measure our performance in real-time.
  • After action/post-incident review: After the crisis is over, you now have the chance to measure how your response processes and capabilities are performed, identify actionable areas for improvement so you become more confident when the next crisis hits.

Thus, a good crisis management scheme must depend on active revision and critique of actions to come up with ways to improve and adapt further. The revision takes place both in the middle of the crisis and after things start to go back to normal.

The role of competent leaders

A sound crisis management and response strategy would not be possible without well-informed input and direction from sharp-minded business leader. And this, in turn, brings us to 4 critical characteristics that should be in a strong leader during a crisis:

  • Empathy: An effective leader needs to be ready to look at things from the perspective of their customers, stakeholders, and staff. S/he needs to ask him/herself: What are these people going through? How can I mitigate the negative impact of this crisis on them and make way for new opportunities?
  • Purpose: At the end of the day, none of the above will make sense without a well-defined and well-communicated purpose that governs the organization’s strategy and overall operations.
  • Clarity: A sound crisis response will not work well without a sound, detailed crisis management plan. This would allow the leader to navigate swiftly and more confidently during the crisis.
  • Lessons learned: Finally, an effective business leader nowadays is someone who actively learns from past mistakes and uses them to broaden the overall experience of the organization.


The takeaway…

If there is one truth history has taught us, it would be that an anticipated crisis can always be around the corner. Be it a financial crisis such as the 2008 economic meltdown, or a health crisis like the COVID pandemic of 2020, businesses and organizations worldwide should always remain alert for a potential unforeseen event to disrupt everything they have been taking for granted for so long.

So, as we can see from the three main aspects discussed by PwC, for any business to survive and prosper amidst an unexpected dire situation, it needs two main things: devise a balanced crisis response strategy in place and have a carefully designed action plan.

Finally, and most importantly, neither of these things can be achieved without a resourceful leader with an astute yet companionate mindset. Such a leader represents the cornerstone of any successful business strategy, and his/her role is especially critical in times of high uncertainty.

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ESKADENIA® Software is a three-time MENA Award Winner & CMMI® level 3 certified company that is active in the design, development and deployment of a range of software products in the Telecom, Insurance, Enterprise, Education, Healthcare, and Internet application areas. The company is based in Jordan and has sales activities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; more than 85% of its sales are exported to the global market. For more information, visit, or contact us at