Monday, August 13, 2007

Leadership lessons

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned through this current crisis

  • Always have a plan B even if you are confident plan A is going to work
  • Ask the staff most directly affected what they think
  • The staff are usually 'ahead' of the Board
  • Don’t listen to gossip – talk to people direct
  • Be aware there are political games going on at every level
  • Try to ensure there are no ‘camps’ even though there will be
  • Be open and up front about bad news
  • Tell people quickly and tell everyone affected at the same time
  • Walk away for a few hours and leave it – you need refreshing
  • Don’t make assumptions and if you do … change them every hour
  • Be ready to be surprised with reactions
  • Admit you were wrong when you make a mistake – as you inevitably will
  • Just when you thought things were getting better they get worse and you have to keep going
  • Never give up
  • Have an understanding wife/husband/partner/family
  • Remember you have a life too.

We continue to manage our way through this problem making it up as we go along to some extent and drawing on our various experiences with help from the legal folks and the HR professionals.

You will make many mistakes along the way and if you think you have finally ‘cracked it’ you will be wrong. If you think you can write a policy to deal with this sort of thing and then simply pull it out of a filing cabinet and implement it in a cold clinical way then forget it – the world just doesn't operate that way. We are talking about people.

Wake up and smell the coffee if you think this practical leadership stuff can be taught in a business school classroom.


Dmitry Linkov said...

Saved this one to my favorites. good post!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Dmitry - much appreciated -tell your freinds :-)

Zip3 said...

Great post Trevor. Advice you won't learn in a university or business school indeed and easy to remember too.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Zip - all my best lessons have been learned from real world management rather than books and classroms although I have spent many hours in the classroom.

Bonnie Jo Davis said...

I just stumbled upon this post and found it very insightful. So many people don't realize what it takes to get through a crisis. One of my clients wrote a great article about the key in leadership is resiliency in tough times. You can read it at

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Bonnie and its great to know you stumbled on my Blog - please tell your friends:-)
Have a great 2008!