Leadership in crisis

Perspectives

Leadership in crises

Lessons learned from the front lines and the importance of war gaming

From the battlefield to the boardroom, unforeseen crises have become more common, causing larger, more disastrous and unprepared for impacts.

How can today’s leadership learn from those who have experienced crisis?

Read the stories from the front lines to examine real instances of leadership during crises. Each story highlights insights to improve future crisis management, and brings understanding in how to exercise those characteristics of crises leadership in war games and simulations.

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Case study: Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, United States Marine Corps (Retired)

In the business of war fighting, a war game provides the commander the opportunity to challenge assumptions and learn who the "go to" folks are in crises. This transitions from the battlefield to the boardroom...one leader saves lives, the other shareholder value.

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Case study: United States Ambassador, John Blaney (Retired)

The 21st century is characterized by more complex and chaotic situations that defy logical approaches and lead quickly to the unexpected. Strong leaders should seek every edge they can to respond to difficult situations and better anticipate the future. War gaming exposes leaders to thoughts they would not have themselves and provides a painless way to explore a broader range of scenarios.

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Case study: Lieutenant General Tom Metz, United States Army (Retired)

Few organizational cultures allow for sincere, candid, and accurate feedback while training. The American military is almost unique with its simulations (live, virtual, and constructive) and the after-action review process—the more open, honest, and explicit in describing both successes and failures the war game is, the more agility, cohesion, and sophistication of analysis are enhanced.

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Case study: Former Deputy Administrator/Deputy Assistant Secretary, John W. Halinski, Transportation Security Administration

Nothing is more effective for a leader and their organization than experiencing the reality of making difficult decisions and building cohesion and team unity. War gaming provides this opportunity, but does so in a cost effective way and in the relatively safe environment of a simulation.

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Strong leadership has helped militaries, governments, and other organizations manage the responses to and recoveries from these crisis. But across bureaucratic boundaries and institutional seams, all this hard-earned experience has also produced one valuable insight: Rehearsing and assessing before a crisis can lead to greater success in responding and recovering afterward, even providing key learning points that might help to prevent the next crisis.​

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