Key Leadership Practices in A Crisis Environment

By Lieutenant General (Ret.) Frank Kearney, Friday, April 17, 2020

Thayer faculty, LTG (Ret.) Frank Kearney, recently shared with an executive team his key leadership principles for leading through crisis. Kearney is applying these same practices, currently, in his new role as CEO for Draper Laboratory.

Tips for leading in a crisis environment:

  • Be confident and trust your teammates, fear and confidence are contagious. Choose confidence. 
  • Communicate directly, often, with brutal honesty.
  • Synchronize organizational activities at least daily; add to your battle rhythm.
  • Convene or reconvene your strategic planning team to: Define what post crisis future may look like, re-look at the facts and assumption which your current business plan is based on, keep stakeholders informed of your planning and crisis adaptations/invite them to participate/eek their views, monitor and redirect key resources and capture the data (this is round 1 of the fight so do an AAR to prepare for round 2-3).
  • Be empathetic to your people, they range between anxiety and fear. Ask yourselves:
    • What do we know?
    • What do we think we know?
    • What do we need to know?
    • How will we gather the information to answer these questions?
  • Lastly, what are we learning and who are we sharing it with?

 


Lieutenant General Frank Kearney

ExpertiseNational security, leadership, leader development, organizational change, strategic planning, training management, counterterrorism and special operations, as well as organizational culture change ExperienceFrank retired in 2012 from the United States Army after 351⁄2 years of service. His final active duty assignment was Deputy Director for Strategic Operational Planning at the National... Read More +

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"There’s power in the art of effective communication. A leader must not only develop an easily understood vision, but he has to communicate it to his team in a way that is understandable to all."
Lieutenant General Frank Kearney
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"There’s power in the art of effective communication. A leader must not only develop an easily understood vision, but he has to communicate it to his team in a way that is understandable to all."
Key Leadership Practices in A Crisis Environment




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