I’ve had the privilege of working with some great communicators and communication experts over the years. I’ve said it before but I try to learn something new from everyone and every situation I encounter – it is how we grow as individuals and BCM professionals after all. A recent example is no exception.
While developing a Crisis Communications Plan for a client – and working again with some very knowledgeable people – I was introduced to a communications methodology I’ve not encountered before. I took a look through many Disaster or Business Continuity related strategies and guidance and I didn’t find it any reference. It was called the RACE methodology of communicating and I thought this was something that should be passed along to other in the DR/BCM field. Maybe some of you know it maybe you don’t but I think it will certainly help with developing and executing your communication strategies during crisis or disaster.
RACE is an acronym (oh, great, another one…) that stands for Research, Action Plan, Communicate and Evaluate:
- Research — Investigate and gather all relevant facts
- Action Plan — Develop the action plan including defining the target audience, goals and objectives and communications tactics to be used.
- Communicate — Implement the tactics.
- Evaluate — Determine your level of success in achieving the plan’s goals and objectives and adjust the plan accordingly to meet the desired objectives. .
What steps are associated with each component of RACE? I’ve outlined below some of the steps associated with each to help better describe each phase or stage of the RACE methodology.
a) Collect the facts
b) Ask questions
c) Probe for information
2. Action Plan
a) Develop situation communications plan
i. Communications plan spells out priorities, timelines, key messages, actions to be taken.
ii. Plan is not linear but a “living” document as it is constantly updated and revised as the situation dictates
iii. Includes feedback from others ie: Check your “pulse”
b) Review communications plan with your “DR Team” to ensure accuracy of facts gathered, and all stakeholder needs met.
a) Implement plan which may include:
i. Media relations strategy
ii. Employee communications strategy, including:
b) Activate Internal Employee Line (if you have one)
c) Update intranet – employee website
d) Customer communications strategy, including:
i. Update external facing website
ii. Determine the degree of notification for regional offices (if applicable)
iii. Briefing of field staff
iv. Telephone messaging
e) Determine other customer communication requirements
a) Emergency situation is tracked on event log.
b) Gather questions in real time from field staff, calls received, employee inquiries
c) Review plan once situation is resolved for lessons learned and fine tune any steps in the communications process.
Using the RACE system should help you with your communication stragtegies, during and post crisis/disaster.
The new book by StoneRoad founder, A.Alex Fullick, MBCI, CBCP, CBRA, ITILv3, “Heads in the Sand: What Stops Corporations From Seeing Business Continuity as a Social Responsibility.” Available at www.stone-road.com **