Harvard Business School professor Bill George says there are universal lessons that apply to a wide range of crises. With many economists forecasting more tough times ahead, in 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, George says leadership skills are more important than ever.
“Most people can perform well in good times. In fact, growth covers up — in business — a lot of sins. But it’s when the real crisis is there, and you’re confronting something you never anticipated, totally different than what you expected, how well do you respond, then. That’s the test of a leader and I think young leaders should get these experiences early so that when they assume top job, they’ve had, haved lived through crisis.”
George is former chairman and CEO of Medtronic. He says “never waste a crisis.”
“You can get to work and say ‘this is an opportunity to transform our organization and take out excess costs.’ I found during a crisis, people are much more amenable to dealing with issues and making major changes. When things are going well, they’ve very reluctant to do that. To me, a leader that anticipates a crisis and actually goes after the problems is a kind of leader we should have.”
George says wise leaders seek counsel and surround themselves with people who can help them, as well as give a sense of perspective.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.