Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
It’s hurricane season where we live, which means we set aside some time to review our emergency plans. Let me say, even if you don’t live in the path of hurricanes, every location has some sort of disaster they need to be aware of (i.e., earthquakes, tornados, snow, fires, etc.) and plan for.
Every organization should have an emergency plan in place. In addition, each of us should have a personal emergency plan. And if you’re working in a remote or hybrid situation, this could mean that you have to think about both your personal and professional lives when it comes to emergency planning. I’m sure companies want to know that employees have a plan in place not only for themselves but for their work-related stuff. And vice versa.
Which brings me to today’s article about communications. Part of a good emergency plan is communication. I was facilitating a seminar on leadership and management skills, and someone mentioned an acronym they use for communications planning. It’s called PACE, which stands for primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency. I immediately asked if I could share it.
My initial reaction is that PACE is similar to the RACI or MOCHA models in terms of assigning a person or role a responsibility. Only with PACE it’s focused on communications.
PRIMARY stands for the primary person/role responsible for communication. I’m going to use person/role because there are times when a specific person might be responsible for communication or there could be times when the plan assigns responsibility to a designated role. For example, in the case of an emergency plan, primary responsibility might be assigned to the “chairperson of the emergency committee” knowing that the person might change.
ALTERNATE can represent the person who will handle communication responsibilities should the primary person be unavailable. I think this is really important because I’m not sure how many emergency plans go that deep and designate an alternative. Also, keep in mind that any person designated as an alternate should be given the same training as the primary so they are able to fulfill their responsibilities as needed.
CONTINGENT would be identifying someone who could step into the role should the primary and/or alternate are unable to do so. You could view them as a second alternate. When I think of contingent, it also makes me consider whether this role should be someone internal or external. Maybe the primary and alternate would be internal with the contingent being an external contractor or consultant.
EMERGENCY can be viewed two ways. First, emergency could be thought of as your third alternate as in “call on this person as an emergency measure”. But another way to view the emergency is in terms of “call this person to handle big epic emergencies”. It’s possible that the primary and alternate handle certain types of emergency communications but for higher level emergencies, this would be the designated person/role.
One of the things that I like about the PACE acronym is that I could see it being used for more than just emergency plan communications. Let’s say the company is introducing a new program. Identify who the primary, alternate, contingent, and emergency communications representatives will be.
Being able to communicate well is one of the keys to personal and professional success. When we can put together a plan and identify the people/roles for each step in the plan, it makes things so much easier. Everyone knows what they need to do and can focus on doing it well. Make a plan then work the plan. That’s what success is all about.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA32