Crisis Leadership

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Get past mishaps with updates

May 3, 2017
Dan O’Sullivan was riding the subway in Boston when the train suddenly stopped. At first, his annoyance spiked. Then he was impressed.

The psychology of the Oscars disaster

April 25, 2017
Catastrophic failures aren’t usually caused by one or two big mess-ups but by a series of cascading errors. So it was at this year’s Academy Awards, where a number of factors contributed to the wrong movie being announced as Best Picture.

When Nike notched a key save

December 22, 2016
In 1972, Phil Knight’s entire career boiled down to his performance at a Chicago trade fair.

Hit with bad news? Stay calm

November 2, 2016
Stephen Knopik knew that the one thing his boss hated more than anything else is defaulting on a bank loan. But one day, he had to break the news that the company was in hock to a bank.

The fastest of turnarounds

October 26, 2016
You’ve been trying to keep up with new orders and even add capacity. Then your boss gets word that you’re losing your biggest customer.

Stay a step ahead in bad times

August 28, 2016

You cannot lead an anxious workforce by making them even more worried. If you warn employees about the possibility of a recession or discuss other doomsday scenarios, you risk driving them to despair. On the other hand, relentless cheerleading amid shrinking profits won’t enhance your credibility and will have limited impact if people sense more pain in the near term.

Handling an abrasive mediator

August 26, 2016
Q. I work for a firm that distributes products in South America. We have been in a very heated conflict with a customer who claims we did not fill an order as specified by our five-year contract. My firm disagrees. I suggested to my boss that we try mediation, and the customer agreed. But the mediator we are working with seems rather abrasive and off-putting. We would like to resolve this conflict quickly or go the arbitration route. Any advice?

CEO takes charge amid tragedy

December 2, 2015

On Jan. 29, 2003, an explosion destroyed a West Pharmaceutical Services factory in Kinston, N.C. Along with six deaths and dozens of injuries at the plant, the resulting fire burned for two days. Donald Morel Jr., West’s then-CEO, was returning to the Philadelphia area from a business trip to New Jersey when he received the news. Morel rushed home, packed a bag and chartered a plane …

Airbnb’s bold call averts crisis

October 16, 2015

In 2011, Brian Chesky’s luck ran out. For nearly three years, the company he had co-founded, Airbnb, had grown into a global giant. Then crisis struck.

Under fire? Stop defending and listen

September 3, 2015

In early 2011, Ofra Strauss was enjoying life at the top. She ran Israeli food maker Strauss Group, a global company with revenues of $1.8 billion. But then an unemployed young man started criticizing the company on Facebook for pricing its chocolates too high …

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