The Crisis Leader Interview Project
After I wrote my first book, The Response Leadership Sequence, one of the people that read it and liked it suggested a follow-up. His idea for me was to bring some of the stories to life by collecting experiences from responders on how they worked their way through a crisis response.
This Crisis Leader Interview Project represents the next step of that vision.
While flying home from a business trip, I brainstormed a list of people that I felt had some inspirational and instructional crisis leadership stories to share and the five questions that I’d like to ask them.
Those five questions all centered around crisis leadership and gratefully, almost everyone I contacted agreed to participate in one form or another.
Keep reading for helpful background on the interviewees or click below to access their interviews.
Be sure to grab your free copy of the exclusive 'Key Takeaways' Report while you're here.
Who is Included? And Why?
So, who did I ask to participate, and why?
Below are some criteria I used:
Leadership experience, obviously.
Most of them are retired or late in their careers. For better or worse, their lessons and the scars are theirs, learned from their firsthand experiences as a leader during crises.
Some of them I’ve known for a while and have experienced their leadership first hand.
Some I’ve grown to know through other projects, joint experiences, or a common network.
In my book, The Response Leadership Sequence, I addressed the differences between a mindset that is dynamic and growth-oriented versus one that is more fixed and comfortable.
There are some very competent folks I know that have reached a place in their lives where continued growth is not a priority. I’ve discovered that a fixed mindset also makes it harder to recognize and encourage growth in others, so I chose to exclude them.
Crises don’t discriminate, so I sought out folks from different places and job sectors to optimize the variety of perspectives.
Diversity of discipline
From the public sector, perspectives include those from:
- Elected Officials
- Emergency Mgmt.
From the private sector, perspectives include those from:
- Transportation (aviation and rail)
- Project Management
- Management Consulting
- Private Investigations
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Corporate Security
Diversity of geographic location
Every region of the United States is represented, from ‘sea to shining sea,’ including the following states:
- North Carolina
- New York
Even Iraq, by way of Texas, is represented.
How to Watch These Videos
On a superficial level, these videos are a series of interviews. However, to gain the full benefit of the content, I encourage you to look deep within each interviewer’s words for the depth of knowledge they bring to crisis leadership.
The videos are not sequential, so you can freely jump between each one.
Each video page focuses on just one interviewee. If you know any of them, their video page may be a good place to start.
A biographical snapshot accompanies each interview, including a photo of the leader, relevant job and location information, a quote that I attribute to them, and for most of them, their contact information.
If you like what they have to say, consider reaching out to share with them how you benefited from their stories.
At the beginning of each interview, I offer some background on the person, and I offer my opinion as to why I believe they’re a crisis leader.
Every person answered the same five questions, their answers recorded.
- What is a Crisis Leader?
- Please share an example when you relied on your crisis leadership?
- What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
- What advice would you give someone who wants to improve their crisis leadership?
- Who is a crisis leader that influenced your career?
No back-and-forth banter, either, just them answering the above questions.
The interview’s authenticity is critical, so nothing in the person’s response was changed, including the transcription. Grammar Nazis, consider yourselves warned.
To immerse yourself in each person’s stories, look at their picture, read their brief bio, and then hear their words as if they were sitting across the table from you.
These interviews capture so much more than stories. They pack actionable lessons learned over a career of crisis leadership that we can all use.
At the end of each interview, I extract out the Key Takeaways that can guide your next steps.
That’s why the ultimate value of these interviews lies with you, the reader.
How will you apply what you hear to add to your leadership legacy?
As I listened to each of these interviewees, two persistent thoughts ran through my head:
- I wish I had access to their leadership wisdom when I was younger.
- Am I doing enough to share these enduring lessons so that they will be accessible and memorable for future generations?
We are all new at our craft initially, so this project intends to help fill the knowledge gap for emerging leaders.
And the selfless service, the enduring lessons, and the legacy of leadership in the following videos are certainly worth remembering.
In the speed of life, the memorable experiences we seek are often buried under distracting memes, half-witted bumper-sticker logic, and savvy marketing hucksters promising leadership mastery, etc.
Bright, shiny, and omnipresent one minute … relegated to the dustbin of history the next minute.
My mission with this interview project is to improve those outcomes. Leaving a worthwhile legacy is worth more than money, a trinket, or a title.
A legacy is the highest form of remembrance because it has the potential to connect our emotions, our brain, and our capability to improve at something.
In a world starving for capable leaders, a legacy of leadership provides us the blueprint to build great things for ourselves and for those we serve.
Click the button below to navigate to the main interview page to hear their stories.
e-Learning - Crisis Leadership Fundamentals
For maximum benefit, enroll in one of my popular online training courses, Crisis Leadership Fundamentals.
In the innovative Crisis Leadership Fundamentals Online Training Course participants will learn the valuable knowledge and skills required for today's leaders to successfully and confidently lead before, during and after a crisis.
The evolution of leadership includes the below fundamentals presented in 11 valuable Lessons. Each lesson builds on each other and fills the gaps that most training leaves out.
- Crisis Leadership Fundamentals Introduction
- Fundamentals to Strengthen a Leader’s Mindset
- Fundamentals to Develop a Readiness to Act
- Fundamentals to Create Goals and Set Objectives
- Fundamentals to Build and Engage a Team
- Fundamentals to Decrease Risk and Increase Resilience
- Fundamentals to Improve Decision-Making
- Fundamentals to Leading During a Crisis or Event
- Fundamentals to Communicating in a Crisis
- Fundamentals to Resolve and Recover from a Crisis
- Crisis Leadership Fundamentals Summary
The outcomes are real and immediate.
Click HERE to learn more about the Crisis Leadership Fundamentals Online Training opportunity.
Book - Legacy of Leadership - Volume 1
For both emerging and existing leaders, Legacy of Leadership Volume 1 - Stories and Strategies to Improve Your Crisis Leadership by Mike McKenna delivers useful and organized insights, compelling stories, and actionable strategies to immediately enhance their legacy as a crisis leader.
Visit the book page HERE to learn more and to explore your purchase options for you and your team.