An emphasis on preparation ensures that Robins have a solid risk management approach. However, an insufficient understanding of reputational risk and/or issues management can leave them vulnerable.
The quintessential “early bird”, Robins are often seen focused on the ground, tugging at the occasional earthworm. They are industrious, alert to their immediate surroundings, and comfortable in both urban and country settings. Robins are popular because of their red breasts and general amiable appearance and demeanor. But robins can also be a little bossy and can mistakenly believe that their red breast makes them somewhat intimidating.
Like their namesake, Robin organizations tend to be well aware of the risks in their immediate environment and put an emphasis on being prepared. This attention to risk management puts the robin in a generally good, well-protected position. In response to events, however, Robin organizations will be more focused on managing the specifics of the issue or event rather than anticipating and understanding the potentially broader impacts and consequences.
The focus of a Robin organization is typically on risk mitigation (training, quality, safety, continuity, compliance etc.) as well as on developing incident response plans that deal with specific, identified risks. Due to the extensive risk mitigation and preparedness efforts, robin organizations mistakenly believe that with their planning, risk has been effectively reduced. Importantly, there is often little involvement by senior leadership, as they have been assured that all of the risk can all be managed at this functional, tactical level. As a result, when faced with an actual crisis, Robin organizations risk significant reputational and organizational challenges.
Believing that they have effectively mitigated risk, Robins are content to go about their business at a functional level and as such do not proactively cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This insularity means that they can be surprised and significantly damaged by non-traditional risks such as social media, NGO criticism, activism, or executive/financial scandal etc.
Crises can and do happen regardless of risk mitigation. Make sure leadership knows its role is to focus on strategic issues, policy changes or fundamental issues that go way beyond the scope of tactical, incident response plans. In training and exercising, commit to the same rigor as you do in your plan development or it may be difficult to ever recover from a crisis.
Engage & Communicate
With little to no profile you risk being defined by others, particularly on negative issues. Engage, understand the large environment and communicate your value proposition.