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Ever wonder why every month brings another tale of a badly-handled corporate disaster (just some of this year’s haul: Nokia, Siemens, RIM, Zynga, JP Morgan), yet you have to go back to 1982 for the last example of truly outstanding corporate leadership in the face of disaster?
Well, one reason, of course, is the nature of reporting: good stories don’t sell newspaper inches (or screen pixels), so the icky stuff gets featured much more heavily.
But there is a deeper issue: The glorification of the leader as hero personified.
We live in a 24-hour news cycle which must, in order to not seem like simply a random collection of talking heads, impose a narrative on events.
At the time of writing, we see it most clearly in the reporting of the current election campaign.
Nothing is simply an event, a fact or a statement, instead everything must be parsed as part of an over-arching narrative – who’s up, who’s down, who’s next, who’s out?
As a result, when a crisis strikes, some unlucky so-and-so gets pushed to the top of the news cycle, and his or her leadership style is placed under the microscope.
And guess what happens?
Behind any well-managed crisis you’ll find either a natural Synergist (very rare), self-taught Synergist or, more commonly, a Synergistic team – one which knows that the answer to a crisis is not V-ing, O-ing or P-ing your way through it, but in using the team’s natural VOP strengths in harmony, and with the proper choreography.
The lesson for the rest of us?
When a crisis hits, doubling down on the personal strengths that got you here in the first place won’t fix the problem.