Adding Crisis Management to UFI’s Educational Line-Up
Glenn Schoen, CEO of Boardroom@Crisis BV

I much enjoyed my front row seat last year watching UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf and Programme Manager – Education & Working Groups Angela Heberholz as they and their colleagues swiftly started helping UFI members cope with the unfolding Covid-19 crisis. Enjoyed, for while the circumstances were most difficult, watching people meet a massive challenge with purpose and drive – in UFI’s case first featuring advice, guidance, connectivity and then a global framework – is always rewarding, always offers new opportunities to learn, and is always energizing, however dire the crisis.

And dire the Covid-19 crisis has proven. Whereas the handling of a minor emergency has long been a core competency of the exhibition and events industry, the pandemic laid bare, again, just how fast larger risks threatening larger interests can overtake your capacity to cope, and what a necessity proper crisis management preparedness is. The cascade of widely unforeseen health risks and unprecedented government restrictions – on gatherings, on travel, on operations – that followed overwhelmed the industry, from which it is only slowly emerging.

As the industry recovers, the contours of potential new crises already loom, from actual to alleged non-compliance with health regulations to Work From Home-enabled fraud to ransomware threatening new, still fragile hybrid business models. Time, in other words, to ensure you have your crisis management capability in order, ready to engage. And for those who see it as just another burden on the to-do list, consider that as ever more critical, checklist-equipped clients face growing compliance demands from their own organizations, proving your ability to demonstrate readiness and resilience should become an increasingly marketable attribute as well.

What is needed to properly map your risks, instruct, equip and lead a crisis team, and what pitfalls should you avoid when managing a crisis? These and other questions are at the core of UFI’s latest educational offering: a module on Crisis Management. Harnessing insights learned across 35 years on the job and hundreds of client engagements in some 40 countries, the module is specifically developed for the exhibition industry, with practical advice as its central tenet. While a six-hour course cannot give you the same output as a year-and-a-half Master’s degree on the topic, I am confident it offers those interested all the basic means to constitute a solid start for your crisis management program, if not a strong boost for your existing one.

Glenn Schoen is CEO of Boardroom@Crisis BV, based in The Hague, the Netherlands, and lead instructor for the new UFI educational module on Crisis Management.