The Critical Things For Great Leadership In A Crisis

There is a common saying ‘When the going gets tough then the tough get going!’

These are for the majority of us the most challenging times in living memory, and it is just getting started. I have been contemplating on how to meet these challenges both personally and professionally.

To do this I go back to my strategy of hanging out with the world’s best leaders. You become who you associate with and there is always room to grow.

Today I listened into The Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series at University of Miami Herbert Business School, where my son attends studying entrepreneurship and technology. This lecture was with Patricia Russo, currently on the Board of Directors for GM and HP.

Here are a few things that I learnt that are vital for leadership to focus in on in a crisis:


A specific mindset is required to succeed in these times. One of positivity, optimism and self-belief. You have got to bring positive energy to the table, it is contagious and cascades through your organization. Knowing when to be offensive and when to be defensive is key. Being able to focus on the short term critical needs and deliver. As well as forecasting what type of recovery curve this is going to be a V, U or L and designing your strategy to suit.

“Attitude is contagious, is yours worth catching.” – Patricia Russo, Board of Directors for GM and HP.

The Right People

Surround yourself with people that are committed, diverse and willing to give it all. Let go of people that are negative and pessimistic. In other words, keep your energy givers and let go of energy takers. Make sure you share with your family what is required of you, get them behind you.

Hire the best talent that is diverse in knowledge and experience. Surround yourself with the best talent, and the best ideas to support yourself in making the best decisions. Create an inclusive culture so as to keep talent.

Leadership Qualities

Be objective and fact-based when making decisions. Move with speed, get agile and be decisive. People are your greatest asset and they are not all going to be able to stay with you if the business can’t afford it. Empathy is key to meet these people demands. Communication, the type that is able to balance the hard truths with the good news of wins in the market.

Lastly, urgency, energy and conviction

Today I bit the bullet and decided to face what I wouldn’t have thought possible before this crisis. As Ray Dalio posted on LinkedIn today, in his Daily Principles “Go to the Pain rather than Avoid it.” His advice is to meet your pain, get out of your comfort zone and you will evolve at a faster pace. I am all about evolving so I decided to take action like I have never taken action in my life before.

I shaved my head.


Why? It’s a new start for us right now. This is a new world and I decided to step up and meet it where it was. I also felt it is time to step up my game and help others to step up theirs too. In shaving my head I used that as a metaphor to anchor this all into my neurology. I decided to create a game-changer.

What ritual can you undertake that will be a game-changer for you. How can you apply the lessons to lead in a crisis above? How will you be an example to others and to your clients today and every day moving forward? It is time to lay down the gauntlet and take massive action. If not you, then who!

Let’s GO!