There has never been a time more critical then today, when the need to lead in a crisis has ever been so crucial. With the devastating earthquake in Haiti, millions of Americans out of work and more companies continuing to lay off workers at an alarming rate, people are looking for leaders to stand up and take the helm and steer the country back into safe, calm waters.
7 Lessons For Leading in Crisis, by Bill George is a book that many of today’s leaders should review, in order to challenge themselves to stand up and answer the call. There have been many books written on leadership, but George’s book provides valuable information in simple language.
7 Lessons For Leading in Crisis, is divided into seven short chapters addressing what characteristics and behaviors a strong leader should possess within organizations. Not only does it spell out the characteristics, but it also provides real life situations from the experience of the author and other notable leaders. By sharing each of their experiences, we see why some leaders are destined to succeed while others continue to fail.
For example, chapter one (Lesson #1) is entitled “Face Reality, Starting with Yourself. The story involves the experience of the author when he took over as assistant general manager of a microwave company. The crisis occurred when the Surgeon General declared that microwaves were a potentially dangerous health hazard. Imagine being a leader in a microwave company at a time when your single product was put in the spotlight of being a health and safety hazard. “Before you can lead your organization through a crisis, you have to acknowledge that you are indeed in one,” advises the George. Taking the readers through the crisis helped to drive home the point regarding facing reality.
Lesson #5 is called “Never waste a Good Crisis”. While the title may seem like a direct contradiction to the lesson the author is trying to teach, delving into the chapter actually taught a very valuable lesson. Occasionally operating in a crisis situation is truly the only way to learn. Imagine, if you will, that every project you ever worked on turned out perfectly without any problems. Now imagine a point in the future where a project began to fail. A leader, who has never been through a crisis, would be ill equipped to handle the situation having never been in a challenging situation. George provides examples of how “leaders use a crisis to transform their enterprises“.
Aside from being a quick read, George provides lessons, inspiration and logical scenarios to help the reader to conceptualize how learning the seven lessons would be beneficial to any leader in any organization. 7 lessons can be the difference between success and failure.
Disclosure: This book is on loan from my local library.