Crunching the Numbers

Step 1: Assess the Possible Impact

O.K. You’ve created an initial list of possible crises your business could face. Now it’s time to assess their potential impact. For each crisis, answer the following five questions and score each from 1 (Least Impact) to 10 (Most Impact). Don’t worry about the chance of it occurring. We’ll get to that in a minute.

  1. If the crisis runs the risk of escalating in intensity, how intense might it get and how quickly?
  2. To what extent will your crisis fall under someone else’s watchful eye, such as the news media, the FBI or a government regulatory agency?
  3. To what extent will the crisis interfere with the normal operations of your business?
  4. Is your internal/external public image at risk?
  5. To what extent would your company’s bottom line be damaged?

Here’s an example of how this ranking process works.

Let’s say that you run a convenience store. Thinking about a crisis involving a robbery, you score it like this:

Event                                                                    1              2              3              4              5              Average
1. Robbery                                                           8               9              8              2              3              6.0

Here’s how we got these answers.

  1. Obviously, a robbery will escalate very quickly, so let’s say an 8 for question #1.
  2. Whether it occurs during the attempt or after a successful robbery, the police or another law enforcement agency will almost assuredly get involved, so #2 is a 9.
  3. It will shut your business down for part of the day, even longer if there is damage, an injury or a fatality, so an 8 for question #3.
  4. Will your image be hurt? Probably not since you’re the victim. So #4 would rate a 2.
  5. Any financial impact would be negligible, especially if you’re insured or the money or items are recovered. So let’s rate #5 a 3.

Divide the total by five (the total number of questions) and you’ll end up with a 6.0 Crisis Impact Value for this particular scenario.


The results of each crisis are charted onto a Crisis Impact Value (CIV) Rating Sheet. Here’s a sample that was put togerther for a mid-sized retailer so you can see how it works. 

Sample of a Crisis Impact Value Rating Sheet