Executive Leadership

Crisis produces a state of being “on,” which a University of Michigan
business researcher calls the “fundamental state of leadership.” Here
are the four stages of moving from a normal work state to being “on”
for a crisis:

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Vatican-based journalist John Allen spent six years observing Pope John Paul II as the pontiff went about his daily routines. Here are three leadership practices Allen noted in John Paul:

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No question that mergers are painful when you have to consolidate positions. Utz-Hellmuth Felcht, chairman of Degussa, the world’s largest
specialty-chemical company, has had a lot of practice at it. He deals
with mergers in two main ways:

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We can feel fear but we move forward, anyway. Acknowledge that it exists, but don’t let it tie you down.

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UPS Chairman and CEO Michael Eskew believes that employees aspire to accomplish great things.

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Here are a few precepts, drawn loosely from the Lewis and Clark
expedition, of maintaining a realistic optimism while leading your team
into the unknown:

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In all, the Coast Guard evacuated about 33,500 people after Katrina,
six times as many as it did in all of 2004. The sheriff of St. Bernard
Parish says the Guard was the only federal agency to provide any
significant help for a week. When officials came down from Washington and asked the sheriff how he’d
fix FEMA, he told them to blow it up and give the Coast Guard what it
needs. So how did an agency with relatively modest resources rescue so many?

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Allen Dulles, the master spymaker who headed the CIA during the
Eisenhower years, liked to tell the story of an important phone call he
once refused to take.

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Learning new stuff is hard, so people look for someone to guide and support them through the chaos. If they don’t see that support, they’ll drag their feet. In response,
the leader repeats the logic behind the change, pushes harder, tries
pep talks, then anger and threats. Finally, his people shut down. Here are three ways to avoid that cycle so your people trust you enough to accept the change.

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The critical goals you set at age 20—and 30—may no longer apply. Yet, many of us still carry around goals we set years ago. To refresh your goals:

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