About the Crisis Leadership Forum

To better understand the leadership dimensions of crisis situations, the Center for Creative Leadership convened a forum with formal and emergent leaders who played a role in Hurricane Katrina. We overlaid this conversation between crisis leaders with the perspectives of discussants with expertise in disaster, terrorism, public health, and leadership. This blog site is intended to continue this conversation.

To read the report on the Crisis Leadership Forum, please click here.

To read CCL's Leading Effectively newsletter on the Forum, please click here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wisdom of the Ages for Timless Challenges

Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten in Learning from the Heroes in Harvard Business Review observe that the core challenges we struggle with are the perennial ones echoed in Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey:"

"Like Hercules, Luke Skywalker, and Jack Welch, we all struggle with five recurring challenges as we journey through work and life: We wander without knowing where we’re going. Data and circumstances confuse us. Fear blocks us from acting. Change paralyzes us. And despite our best intentions, we talk more than we listen."

They find that these challenges surface repeatedly in the business literature:

"An examination of business writing from the past 30 years shows that these challenges emerge again and again—and the best books offer simple yet profound lessons for overcoming them: Find a clear purpose. Be aware that past experience and a mass of information can interfere with wise decisions. Maintain a bias toward action. Be open to change. Seek feedback."

These nuggets of wisdom -- to take swift action but be open to feedback and frequent course corrections -- make much sense in crisis situations where desired outcomes are clear ... but the path there may be anything but obvious.

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