An Executive’s Take on Jurassic World

The release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has me reflecting on the original 2015 film and some of the important takeaways that all CEOs should be mindful of, whether interested in dinosaurs or not. Imagine for a moment that you were the CEO of Jurassic World: from a business perspective, what mistakes were made, and what lessons can be learned from them? Let’s take a closer look.

Crisis Planning

Businesses don’t spend enough time planning for a crisis. Their marketing team may have the crisis communications plan (who says what to whom, and when) developed, but operations hasn’t thought everything through yet.

Take the Jurassic World theme park. They had a great crisis plan in place in case their product v1 (T-Rex) malfunctioned or was released. They’d practiced and had the right people and tools at the ready—everything looked good on paper. Unfortunately, product v2 (I-Rex) was released too early to the public, and they hadn’t updated their crisis plan to address the problems they would face to mitigate the new threat to their employees, their customers, and their brand.

The lesson? Crisis planning should have started as soon as the second product was under development and it was clearly understood what new features would be incorporated. Because the crisis plan in place was for the old product, the tools they used against the new threat were ineffective, wiping out (or in this case, eating up) the operations team and causing the crisis to continue to escalate.

Strategy vs. Tactics

To worsen the crisis, the executive in charge, CEO Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), left a strategic position and moved into implementing tactics. As soon as she stepped out of the control room—where she had every asset available to her to help solve the problem—and went into the field to tackle the crisis personally, someone else stepped up to take control. That someone was Vic Hoskins (played by Vincent D’Onofrio), head of security operations. Not only was Hoskins not trained at the executive level, but he didn’t have all the information and he hadn’t won the team’s trust. In fact, he wasn’t even the second in command!

Since there was no written plan in place and no one knew what to do, Hoskins de facto stepped into the position and no one stopped him. He was ineffective because of the issues listed above, and his bad decisions ended up getting him eaten by one of the other products. How’s that for irony?!

Key Jurassic World Takeaways for CEOs

Yes, the movie was entertaining and became a big blockbuster hit, but the executive team’s management of the whole Jurassic World debacle reveals some important lessons—even for CEOs that don’t run a dinosaur theme park:

  1. Develop both crisis communications AND crisis operations plans. Practice them! Update them as new products are developed or potential threats are identified.
  2. Develop a chain of command. If the CEO is forced out of or removed from leadership, determine who is authorized to step up and assume that role for the duration of the crisis.

Whether you’re a dinosaur lover or not, these are valuable lessons to apply in your own organization. For assistance putting these critical plans in place, contact our team—we’re here to help!