Wednesday, February 4, 2009


This is the final installment of my commentary on the Fortune Magazine interview with author Jim Collins.

One item that I would add to his list of how companies turn crisis into opportunity, is communication. A leader's ability to be straight forward and direct in a crisis is critical.

I witnessed this first hand a few years ago.

When Arthur Andersen was engulfed in the Enron scandal and selling off most of its business, I was the global leader of Andersen Business Consulting. When I was preparing to leave my first voicemail to the employees regarding a potential way forward, many communication experts told me I should not say what I had planned.

Their advice was that there were too many unknowns which would upset and unnerve people. But that was the truth! There were many things I did not know at the time. Including, if a deal was even possible.

I followed my instincts and told them very directly what was happening, what I knew and did not know, and described the process we would follow to work through the issues.

It has been seven years since I sent that voicemail. To this day, I run into people from around the world that mention that first voicemail. They all comment that it was direct, honest, and personal.

In concluding this 5 part series, I ask you the following questions:

How many business or political "leaders" have you noticed that are leveraging Jim Collins' three points- enduring values, the best talent, or "zooming out" to see past the chaos?

How many business or political "leaders" are communicating in a straight forward and direct manner?

How many business or political "leaders" are communicating the process that will be followed to address the challenges?

This leads me to my initial question and the title of the blog series-


Until Next Time,

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