If you’re trying to run a business, you probably think the global economic crisis has been a bad thing. That is, after all, why they call it a crisis.
Bill George, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, begs to differ. Leaders should always be eager to confront a crisis. The recession, he says, is “a rare opportunity” for good leaders.
He recently gave an interview to the Harvard Business Journal to discuss his new book on the subject:
I wrote 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis to explore why so many leaders fail to step up and lead during a crisis such as the global economic crisis of 2008-09. I found that many failed to follow seven universal lessons for leading in crisis. I believe the root cause of the recent financial crisis was leaders who practiced short-termism. Many business leaders focused primarily on short-term results—the next quarterly report and the rewards that come from short-term success—while ignoring their responsibilities to sustaining and building the company’s long-term fiscal health.
Ironically, it was the Wall Street leaders who put so much pressure on corporate America to play the short-term game who got hit with their own boomerang. As a result, many of these leaders have departed the scene, just as numerous corporate CEOs did in the wake of the Enron debacle earlier in the decade.