Crisis Leaders Are Different

Ed Marsh | Mar 19, 2020
strong crisis leaders needed

It's Wartime - You need strong allies

I've had two very strong impressions over the past week.

The first is how quiet it is outside my house. There's very little traffic noise.

The second is how quickly and clearly people are self selecting into two groups. Leaders and lemmings. The crisis is clearly stratifying people who will resign themselves to whatever happens and those who will manage their outcomes.

What's interesting is that crisis leaders are quite often different than routine leaders. The latter is often a capable manager and process person. The former is capable of making decisions amidst chaos and with very little specific information.

I was discussing this with a friend yesterday who reminded me of Ben Horowitz' take on Peacetime and Wartime CEOs.

Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six. 

It's Hard to Train For

Military training designs in scenarios to stress test leaders and to inculcate instinct and resilience operating with limited information and dire circumstances.

You never overcome the discomfort, you learn how to manage it and to subsume your personal concerns to the mission.

We can't really do that in the civilian world - and we don't think that it's necessary.

Except it is.

We're going to try something - Crisis Leaders Idea Exchange

As a senior executive and crisis leader you often can't talk to your employees. Your investors, spouse, and friends will likely have different perspectives. And your mastermind, Vistage or other group will probably consist of people who are accomplished peacetime CEOs.

Now you need something else.

You need a trustworthy group that shares the same angst and challenges to exchange ideas.

So I'm launching a Crisis Leadership Idea Exchange weekly meeting. It will be open only to president, GM, owner and CXO roles of B2B companies.

We're going to have to figure out some of the rules as we go.

Here's the bottom line - none of us have time for jerks now. So if you are, don't register. If you do anyway, we'll make quick and decisive decisions in support of the group.

We'll start with a two month plan - and see what happens.

We'll meet weekly on Thursdays at 2pm eastern via Zoom.

Each meeting will pick a topic, and in each meeting I'll work to have a senior combat leader join the meeting as well to share insights from actual experience.

If you're interested, register for the Zoom meeting here. Once you're approved you'll receive an email confirmation with the meeting details. One registration will get you access to all the meetings.

If you have questions, email me.