Vice President (Financial Services)
Managing Director (Financial Services)
"Relationships are everything ..."
Why they're a Crisis Leader:
In the years that I’ve known him, it would be a rare day indeed for Jeff Moster to be out-hustled or indecisive about something.
His leadership qualities are evident in everything he does, whether playing sports, mastering his career, or devoting energy to his family and friends.
Jeff's crisis leadership was baked-in at an early age. For example, experiencing the unexpected loss of a parent at a young age activated Jeff’s enduring resilience and personal leadership, which he has relied on throughout his life.
He personifies my favorite Russian proverb:
"The same hammer that shatters the glass forges the steel."
As you will see, overcoming significant professional challenges also demanded more from Jeff’s resilient personal leadership. At a time when others in his position simply walked away, Jeff’s strong character and purpose prompted him also to lead those around him who were desperately looking for direction.
Though he would like to defy the label of crisis leader, Jeff embodies everything we look for in a leader in times of turmoil: resolve, decisiveness, and courage.
#1 "What is a Crisis Leader?"
Click to read a transcript of the answer "What is a Crisis Leader?"
A crisis leader is someone that does whatever it takes, does whatever is required to facilitate as positive of an outcome as possible during times of great stress.
They are someone that's willing to put the mission in front of themselves, and they are adept at synthesizing information that can be coming at them very quickly.
Lots of different sources, lots of different variables, but they can synthesize that information quickly and they're capable of confidently and concisely communicating what needs to be done as a result of taking in all those different variables and communicating that to who is affected and what needs to be done.
#2 "What's an example when you relied on your own Crisis Leadership?"
Click to read a transcript of the answer "What's an example when you relied on your own Crisis Leadership?"
An example of a time that I was involved in some crisis where I needed to exhibit some leadership was post the infamous Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
I had been an employee of Lehman Brothers since 1998, and I was with them until their bankruptcy in 2008. And that was an absolutely crazy time in my industry, the financial world.
I managed money for clients and their monies were tied up at Lehman because of the bankruptcy. Because of the unique nature of that firm going bankrupt, their funds were tied up during the bankruptcy process at Lehman and they needed help.
The problem was, I, as a former employee of the company, was forced to leave. I couldn't stay there, and so I left Lehman to go to another employer and then that left me in a very precarious situation where I had old clients that needed my help, but contacting them would violate a non-compete I had with Lehman.
Even though Lehman was bankrupt, the bankrupt estate felt that there was a duty for me to remain at arm's length.
Having said that, no one was left at Lehman to help these old clients of mine.
They're in complete disarray, they're panicking, they don't know what to do, they don't know what's going on with their money, and aside from people's personal relationships, their family, their friends, money tends to be pretty high on people's priority, so I was dealing with something that was quite emotional with people, and I was in a very difficult catch-22 place because I had legal obligations to not talk to them, but I had what I viewed as a moral obligation to help them.
So, I was in a situation where I elected to take the risk of violating what was technically a legal uh, legal arrangement that I was not supposed to violate, and then went ahead, and on multiple occasions, had conversations with people, told them what I knew, helped them as much as I could, knowing that if someone on the other side, from the estate of Lehman Brothers, wanted to get nasty with me, that there probably was that possibility that could hang over my head.
But at the end of the day, I just couldn't, in good conscience, leave them hanging in the lurch, knowing that I could help them in some manner.
#3 "What do you know now that you wish you knew then?"
Click to read a transcript of the answer "What do you know now that you wish you knew then?"
So something I know now that I wish I knew then was the fact that even when you're in the middle of a crisis and you're making decisions that you know are based on fundamental right versus wrong, you're doing the right things for the right reasons, you're doing the best you can, and the truth seems so clear, you have to anticipate that if there's another side to the crisis that the creators of that crisis or the people involved on the other side of the crisis ironically may in their self-serving selfish interest turn the whole situation on its head to make you look like the bad guy in the middle of this chaos.
So even though you're doing what you know is best and that helps you proceed steadfastly with a clear conscience, be aware that the world's not perfect and some people, in their own self interest, will perhaps try to put the blame of the crisis back on you.
#4 "What advice would you give someone who wants to improve their own Crisis Leadership?"
Click to read a transcript of the answer "What advice would you give someone who wants to improve their own Crisis Leadership?"
So some advice I would give to someone that's trying to enhance their crisis leadership is to the extent that time allows document why you're doing what you're doing. Who you're talking to, why you are making the decisions you are.
- Be communicative about the decision making thought process.
- As much as you can try to get decisions that you're making in writing.
- Get the reasons you're making these decisions placed in writing.
If you're relying on information from other parties to be making the decisions you're making get that reliant, get that information you're relying on in writing such that you will not need to be questioned about why you're doing what you're doing down the road.
#5 "Who is a Crisis Leader that influenced your career?"
Click to read a transcript of the answer "Who is a crisis leader that influenced your career?"
I was involved in a business that was not working out and this was years ago.
The business needed to be shut down, and the leader of this business had done a masterful job of developing relationships with not just myself, but my coworkers, other leaders across the business.
And he truly had a magnetic personality, a flair for leadership, a tremendous gift of oration, and had done a phenomenal job of getting us to believe in him. And as a result, we were very willing to trust whatever direction this individual thought we should go, for the future of the business, that would ultimately be shut down, but he was going to try.
The attempt was to try to make this business be shut down in the least complicated way possible.
And what I learned from that is that relationships matter, significantly.
And this somewhat ties into the previous question about advice. So to the extent, you're a leader. If you have excellent relationships with those that you're involved with, your ability to lead them is gonna be much more enhanced to the extent that you're invested personally, and they trust in you.
In this case, we believed in this leader so much that we went along with his direction, and it turned out to be a situation that wasn't necessarily best or us, but he had done such a good job of navigating where the business needs to go, his objective was accomplished, and we had all gone along for the ride.
But it just shows the importance of relationships and trust, and how that can help leaders have followers do just that. Take it where the leader best believes they should be.