Crisis Leadership

Jefferson’s crisis communiqués: a model

November 29, 2012
The wartime letters of Thomas Jefferson to George Washington and other Revolution leaders offer a vivid glimpse into the mind of a great leader in a time of crisis. Most of them contain four key elements.

5 lessons from a doomed airplane

July 5, 2012

Let’s have another look at Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who ditched a commercial jetliner in the Hudson River with no loss of life, as a study of leadership in crisis. In a crisis, there’s no time for debate. Just good training, quick orientation and assessment, calm decisions and immediate action. Five lessons we can take away:

The antidote to fear-driven management

February 24, 2012

Many leaders today are fearful and anxious, says Meg Wheatley, an expert on innovative leadership. Their fear and uncertainty deprives them of the energy and enthusiasm they need to keep going. Yet perseverance is precisely what they need. That, and wilderness survival skills.

Channeling Churchill’s declarations

February 13, 2012
On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill delivered a speech over the radio, as families all over England gathered around to listen. From Churchill, leaders can learn how to give others hope in a time of hardship or fear.

How to carefully execute a forced exit

December 21, 2011
When Olympus Corp. CEO Michael C. Woodford got fired recently, he fought back by going to the press with claims of financial wrongdoing by the company. His is a lesson in how to carefully orchestrate a forced exit.

A Coast Guard lesson in preparedness

December 12, 2011
Video of a dramatic rescue off the Rhode Island coast demonstrates not just the courage of the U.S. Coast Guard but also its preparation.

C5 response to leading during disasters

November 14, 2011

When the World Trade Center was hit on 9/11, Fire Department Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer happened to already be on the scene. That made him the first FDNY fire chief to take command. What we’ve learned since then, he says, is that leaders don’t simply “com­­mand and control” during a catastrophic event. They go beyond that.

Corporate crisis a career-killer?

October 28, 2011
A corporate crisis could kill your career or it could position you for future success. Tips for handling a corporate crisis in a way that benefits your career: Do extensive homework before joining an employer. Resist the desire to quit. Keep meticulous records about your crisis management.

Be ready for any eventuality

October 6, 2011
One way to hang onto your optimism is to have a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario. As Winston Churchill did, have a backup plan in place because you might just need it.

Flying high in the face of disaster

September 23, 2011
As the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted and spewed ash across the North Atlantic, all of Europe’s air space was forced to close, grounding hundreds of flights. Heathrow Airport was a mass of confusion and anger, but British Airways swung quickly into action.