The Prepared Leader | Erika H. James

Summary of: The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before
By: Erika H. James


Dive into the valuable lessons presented in ‘The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before’ by Erika H. James, and discover how to navigate crises with poise and preparedness. This insightful book explores the cognitive biases that hinder our ability to anticipate and respond to crises effectively, emphasizing the importance of overcoming such obstacles to become a competent leader. Learn from real-world examples, such as Adam Silver and the NBA, as we elucidate the five phases of crisis management and the corresponding nine skills necessary for efficient leadership throughout each phase. Be prepared to enhance your leadership capabilities and guide your organization through even the most challenging situations.

Overcoming Biases to Lead in Crises

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed humanity’s lack of preparedness for future crises. Most individuals prioritize current dangers over possible future threats, leading to cognitive biases that impede preparedness. However, awareness of these biases can help individuals become leaders who manage crises with poise and preparedness. Leadership agency during a crisis is essential in taking action to prevent losses, and to do this, one must develop the skills to overcome biases. The commissioner of the National Basketball Association, Adam Silver, is an example of how to prepare for unforeseen crises: reach out to experts outside the immediate circle and direct active effort towards getting a full picture of the threat. With a diverse group of experts, Silver created a “bubble” that allowed the NBA to operate safely and earn $1.5 billion in revenue.

The Five Phases of Crisis Management

The book proposes that a responsible leader should consider the triple bottom line paradigm, which comprises people, planet, and profits. However, to take care of these responsibilities, there’s a need to add a fourth bottom line- prepared leadership. The authors highlight the five phases of crisis management, starting with early warning and signal detection. They note that a prepared leader should have the courage to take action before the crisis worsens. The second phase is preparation and prevention, where having a crisis response team in place is essential. The third phase is damage containment, which should aim to minimize damage to the business and avoid further harm. Recovery is phase four, which requires a well-staffed team with access to the right information. The last phase is learning and reflection, where leaders should take the time to examine, learn and reflect on the crisis. The book also discusses 9 skills that every prepared leader should possess to thrive in these phases.

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