Crisis Leadership

Use questions to teach vital skills

August 12, 2014
Just six days before the now-famous hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, Captain Richard Phillips held a surprise security drill aboard his ship. He wanted to test his crew’s ability to defend against a pirate attack.

Amid 9/11 tragedy, an email hits home

June 25, 2014
Responding to a crisis tests a leader’s fortitude. Your ability to reassure employees and help them cope with fear and uncertainty can solidify your standing.

Rise above rival’s petty moves

February 26, 2014
Walt Disney’s optimism inoculated him from much of the scheming and betrayal that he faced as a young entrepreneur. When others tried to muscle him out of business, he sought creative solutions.

Facing disaster, exec keeps it real

October 10, 2013
Masao Yoshida was chief manager at Fukushima Daiichi power plant for only nine months when a 42-foot tsunami hit the plant two years ago, knocking out cooling systems for its six reactors. His story reflects the best any of us could do as leaders in crisis.

CEO turns tragedy into branded giving

September 24, 2013
Employees of Boston-based apparel company Life is Good asked whether they could do something to raise money for the victims of the bombings that occurred at this year’s marathon. CEO Bert Jacobs’ first response was no but he soon changed his mind. “We’re a brand about the power of optimism,” he says. “We should be leaders of the spirit when bad things happen.”

UPS looks back to go forward

August 16, 2013
In the late 1990s, UPS executives realized that the company’s model wasn’t working. To explain large-scale innovations, they turned to breakthroughs of the past: from bicycle deliveries to trucks, from ground service to air freight, from paper tracking to a web-based system.

Fend off tough questions from media

May 7, 2013
Before you give a live media interview, prepare to answer questions on your terms. Rehearse what you’ll say if you’re challenged to defend yourself or your organization.

3 keys to commanding troops in battle

April 22, 2013
Harold Moore Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Army who’s famous as a Vietnam War battlefield commander. He’s co-author of We Were Soldiers Once … And Young and other books. Years ago, Moore gave a talk in which he listed three principles of leadership.

How to reverse a failure

December 10, 2012

When something fails, follow these steps: 1. Look in the mirror. 2. Go right back to work. 3. Communicate directly. 4. Seek other leaders on the team. 5. Make necessary changes.

When bad news hits, speak up

December 7, 2012
Experts in corporate communications advise leaders to deliver bad news in five steps: tell it all, tell it fast, explain what you’re doing about it, make it clear when it’s over and get back to work. In 2010, Hewlett-Packard’s board failed to follow these steps.