Navigating an Organizational Crisis

In the current era, our book seems to grow in relevance. We thank Praeger, our publisher.

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How are leaders facing a crisis supposed to handle and overcome an unknowable set of issues? This book demonstrates how effective leaders under pressure work from an understanding of the situation at hand and of their impact on others, and explains how leaders can best apply their internal strengths.

Most leaders are steeped in risk management, crisis response tactics, readiness for disaster, continuity-of-operations planning, and logistical and agility capabilities. These preparations are critical but not complete. The reality is that even experienced leaders themselves need guidance when it comes to managing a crisis. This standout book fills that need, drawing on interviews with successful leaders; research findings on trauma, neuroscience, and crisis management; and the authors’ own extensive career experiences. The chapters suggest and probe ideas from various angles rather than promoting simplistic formulas or nostrums that are unlikely to apply to all circumstances and present new angles on self-awareness and management under pressure for the practitioner.

The book leads off with a description of organizational disaster and crisis leadership―topics of considerable concern as disasters are becoming the “new normal.” The authors then explore three critical but very different types of responses by leaders at such a time: recognition and response, care of self and others, and storytelling. A detailed case study of a leader in the midst of Hurricane Katrina―the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history―provides readers with a real-world practicum for the theories and ideas suggested.

  • Comprehensively addresses a universal and very important concern of leaders: “How will I respond in a crisis?”
  • Identifies clear expectations for leadership performance in the immediate moments after an organizational shock and in the succeeding hours, days, and months
  • Highlights how a leader’s skills and willingness to create meaning through story is an essential capability in a crisis
  • Draws from a variety of social science research as well as leadership stories to make key points that may be unexpected and counterintuitive

Here is what reviewers have said:

“A real world guide to navigating a crisis! A must read for a fast moving and volatile world.”
John Kim, President, New York life

“Prepare to be captivated by the depth of wisdom offered by Harry and Martha in this strikingly well-written book. The authors surprise and engage you with their ability to share their stories, the stories of others and a cornucopia of research to provide much-needed guidance to leaders who will sooner later have to deal with a crisis of unexpected magnitude.”
Amy Avergun, Leadership Training Designer

“Take it from me, real leadership is never an easy ride. There are pearls of wisdom in this book that continue to be helpful to me as a leader, though one in particular stands out: be a listener, a good listener, even when you don’t like what you’re hearing.”
Michel Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts