You're It

Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most

Contributors

By Leonard J. Marcus

By Eric J. McNulty

By Joseph M. Henderson

By Barry C. Dorn

Foreword by David Gergen

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The faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University distill their extensive research and experience to teach you how to become a better leader every day, while giving you the tools to handle the inevitable crises that come your way.

Managing crisis well is at the very heart of good leadership. Here, the team from the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative draws on a deep well of research as well as their experience working with leaders to respond to crisis events of all kinds, from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Boston Marathon bombings, to more everyday crises like a product recall or media controversy that can hit corporate operations, risking terrible PR and outrage from customers.

You’re It distills the wisdom the NPLI have gained from observing the way the most effective leaders take charge of situations with real authority, marshal and connect different networks together, and bring their organizations, cities and countries out through the other side of crisis into recovery. You’re It is an essential book for anyone potentially facing a crisis or a wrenching change.

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INTRODUCTION

It was a relaxing spring day on Cape Cod. Staring out at the ocean, Lenny Marcus whispered to his wife, “People on the Gulf Coast look at this same scene and have to worry about the oil hitting their shores.” It was May 2, 2010. Twelve days earlier, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig erupted, killing eleven workers and threatening the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem with the largest oil spill in history.

It was a busy weekend for crisis leaders. The day before, a mammoth water main break west of Boston interrupted service to two million people. Massachusetts officials were coordinating with local leaders to ensure a safe water supply for the metropolis. The night before in New York, vigilant Times Square street vendors spotted a suspicious car and alerted police, thwarting what would have been a deadly terrorist explosion. Lenny knew that alumni of the crisis leadership program he codirects at Harvard were active in each of these incidents.

Suddenly, his phone rang. The screen read “Peter Neffenger.” Quietly, he said, “Sorry, I need to take this one.”

Peter was a captain in the Coast Guard when he completed Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative executive crisis leadership program. Afterwards, Peter and Lenny stayed in touch. Peter had been promoted to admiral and led Coast Guard operations on the Great Lakes. “Lenny, Thad Allen [commandant of the Coast Guard] asked me to head to New Orleans and serve as deputy national incident commander for the oil spill response. I want you to come down and observe what’s going on.”

Lenny sat up. He had gotten calls like this before. When H1N1/swine flu erupted the year before, Joe Henderson at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called, and Lenny was quickly on a flight to their offices in Atlanta. During the Hurricane Katrina response in 2005, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, emailed him from New Orleans: “You want to study leadership? Come on down.”

By Friday, May 7, Eric McNulty and Lenny Marcus (two of the four authors of this book) were also in New Orleans to observe Admiral Neffenger as he assumed duties as deputy national incident commander. The next day Peter, his staff, Lenny, and Eric were flying over the oil spill in the Gulf. Barry Dorn later joined the national incident commander, Admiral Thad Allen, in New Orleans. The inquiry about leadership of the spill response would stretch all the way from the Gulf to Washington as they observed both the government interagency collaboration and the wrangling that marked the crisis response. There were frequent update calls to discuss ongoing leadership quandaries.

From one crisis to the next, the “come on down” calls continued. Each at a pivotal moment. Each when it mattered most.

Your leadership moment. The curtain rises and everyone looks to you. They count on you. A solution must be found. You take the helm. You’re it.

Some situations you anticipate. Others come as a surprise. Whether you are a crisis leader professional, an organizational leader, or an unsuspecting bystander, in an instant you can be leading a crisis response or leading a part of it. Suddenly, you are responsible. What do you do?

The pages ahead chart steps for those crisis moments: ideas, methods, and pragmatic tools that will guide you as you guide others. Bringing those lessons to life are examples of real-life leaders in crisis scenarios: a terrorist attack, a pandemic, an oil spill, an active shooter, hurricanes. Crises, large and small, will happen. Financial shortfall, sexual harassment allegations, product liability—you as a leader must be prepared for whatever comes.

We, your authors, believe that you’ll be most likely to embrace and execute the crisis leadership practices you’ll learn about in this book if they are rooted in your everyday leadership and relationships. At the crisis moment, you’ll pivot, using the same practices already deeply embedded in your leadership tool box. With precision, you seamlessly adapt what you do to the situation at hand.

Leadership moments and complex problems routinely arise. Workplace leaders face situations demanding change. At home, there are personal issues, life-and-death decisions, disappointments, and transitions. Then there are the life-changing crises—you find yourself in the midst of an active shooter scenario, a terrorist attack, or a weather-related disaster. No matter the situation, when you are the leader, others await your direction and instructions. They count on you to have the confidence to respond effectively.

You own your thinking, behaviors, and actions. Refining them—as you become the leader you hope to be—is the theme of this book. Your life and your career traverse a wide range of human dilemmas, crises, and opportunities. And the way forward isn’t simply through the words you find here. You are the starting point for exploring and enhancing your capacity to lead. It’s important to be continually reflective and intentional about who you are, what you do, and how you do it. We turn the attention and responsibility upon you, the leader.

Fulfilling your potential as a leader requires a keen awareness and understanding of how your personal experiences—your decisions, stumbles, and triumphs—got you to where you are now. Each prepares you for the moment when “you’re it.”

Meta-Leadership

The theme of this book—and what we hope you’ll achieve—is meta-leadership. This framework and practice method we developed is key to your expedition. You will learn to look at problems, opportunities, and solutions from a “meta-” perspective.

The overarching prefix “meta-” encourages you to seek a bigger picture. You perceive beyond the obvious toward an understanding for how multiple connected factors act and interact with one another. With that, you begin to grasp the complexity of what is going on and you take action. A lot is happening and it demands your attention.

Meta-leadership consists of three dimensions for shaping this holistic view of your leadership:

1. The person—you the leader

2. The situation in which you lead

3. Connectivity in the network of stakeholders you lead

You will learn to use the three dimensions to define the complexities, relationships, and interdependencies that determine your success or failure, and that of the others on your team. The practice method incorporates strategic concepts and practical tools for engaging these stakeholders. Once you master it, you’ll work on exercising your leadership effectively throughout your expanding network of influence. Meta-leadership is a force multiplier for all that you and others hope to accomplish together.

The “you” in “you’re it” deliberately has a double meaning. On the one hand, “you” is singular, a reference to one person, as in “you are the leader.” Singular “you” highlights your personal leadership responsibility, accountability, and opportunity. It points to your development, experiences, and learning. The meta-leader is personally willing to assume the challenge of thinking and acting broadly. You are intentional about leading with both depth of understanding and breadth of perspective.

On the other hand, “you” is also plural, referencing the many other people with whom you lead—as in, you all share a problem, opportunity, or challenge in which you choose to engage. Together, “you’re it.” Your meta-leadership manifests in convening people to work collectively on a matter of shared purpose. Plural “you” also refers to being part of following, leveraging, or contributing to others who share complementary objectives. Rallying and engaging people to that meta-purpose emerges from your relationships, mission, and accomplishments and from the trust you build.

In this way, “you’re it” is a mutual endeavor to do more than you could do by yourself or as separate entities working in isolation (often called organizational silos). The practice of meta-leadership is about forming the plural “you” to achieve the objective. Not everyone grasps the benefit. The meta-leader understands what motivates these many stakeholders and aligns those motives to shape the common you.

This premise shapes our definition of leadership: People follow you. And when circumstances require the opposite, the phrase can be reversed: You follow people.

Astute meta-leaders grasp this double meaning, which defines and animates both the personal “me” and the collective “we.” Your meta-mind-set is one of personal responsibility combined with the strength and advantages of leveraging a wider crowd.

The meta-leadership framework and method grew out of our observations and research conducted with leaders during times of crisis and change, as well as from our own experience leading in routine, day-to-day situations. As a physician, Barry Dorn led the response to life-and-death events and made decisions as a hospital executive. Joe Henderson, following the 9/11 attacks, was a key national leader of CDC bioterrorism preparedness efforts and was later instrumental in reorganizing CDC operations. Eric McNulty and Lenny Marcus have studied numerous US and international crises and change situations. Together we integrate practice realities and academic perspectives into a tool box designed to advance your meta-leadership development.

Through our research, we were given the rare opportunity to accompany leaders—or catch up with them as quickly as possible—as they faced momentous disasters and maneuvered to cope with them. Some leaders rose to the challenge. We learned a great deal from them, and what you read here is a compilation of those insights. We also learned a great deal from leaders who stumbled. From the outset, we never judged an individual as a “good” or “bad” leader. Effectiveness is often circumstance-contingent. Instead, we identified the pitfalls along with the opportunities that leaders and others can expect to face in the midst of a crisis or significant change.

Our work is based at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership. The NPLI was established shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The federal government asked Harvard University to invest intellectual resources and research in studying and teaching leaders in crisis. Lenny Marcus and David Gergen of the Kennedy School were the founding codirectors. The mandate was to “join the country on the steep learning curve of preparedness and response leadership.” Hence, the case illustrations you find here stem from our work in “joining” leaders in the midst of crises.

Our work began with an after-the-fact study and analysis of the 9/11 attacks. Early field research also included on-site observation of the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We later watched our students put the meta-leadership lessons learned into action. Alumni from our NPLI executive crisis leadership program were schooled in meta-leadership and led the CDC response to the first stages of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States, as well as the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Super Storm Sandy in 2012, the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, the domestic response to the outbreak of Ebola virus cases in the United States in 2014, the transformation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2016, and the series of devastating hurricanes in 2017. We also observed and interviewed students in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors on their use of meta-leadership in response to more localized crises or predicaments. These were crucible moments for the organizations and communities affected, and certainly crucible moments for the careers of these leaders.

This research took us from practice to theory, not the other way around. We studied the disaster preparation and crisis response actions of leaders in high-stakes, high-pressure situations, as well as during the normal give-and-take of organizational and interpersonal problem-solving. The circumstances through which they led and their openness to our analysis allowed us to observe and assess both their thinking and their actions. From those investigations, we formulated the three dimensions of meta-leadership that can improve the performance of leaders. These dimensions are not a simple checklist or set of characteristics. They are pathways to knowing yourself, the context in which you lead, and the full range of assets, resources, and relationships necessary to succeed.

From Everyday Leadership to Leadership During Change and Crisis

Although meta-leadership was developed through the lens of crisis leadership, its value extends to everyday routine and transformational situations as well. Like Olympic athletes, meta-leaders do not begin their practice and performance on game day. For you, this book is a guide to both the ordinary and the extraordinary.

There is another distinction between meta-leadership and other approaches to leadership. We begin with the belief that no two meta-leaders are identical. Some are introverted, some extroverted. Some are left-brain-dominant, others right-brain-dominant. Whether you work in an entrepreneurial start-up or an established organization, the three dimensions help you fully inhabit yourself as the leader you are truly capable of becoming. We don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “born leader.” Rather, we find that certain personal characteristics can be cultivated and leveraged to enhance your capacities. The most important—and perhaps the most obvious—is your willingness to lead. Combining that with development of your own expansive meta-leadership outlook, you will grow to understand how you—not some mythical perfect leader—can act quickly, confidently, and with maximum effectiveness.

The author and systems theorist R. Buckminster Fuller once asked, “If the success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?” Although you might not cast your endeavors in such grand terms, ask yourself a parallel question: When everything is on the line, how will I be? What will I do? The three dimensions of meta-leadership are a guide to answering these questions in terms distinctly suited to you and the many tests you face as a leader.

To be sure, there are those who, acting in isolation and with detached authority, believe themselves to be “leaders.” These individuals believe that the formal authority of a lofty title or position confers the mantle of leadership. They order and they command, viewing their work in transactional, self-serving terms. They expect the world to conform to their expectations. They employ boasting, fantasy, and self-promotion to reaffirm their perceived position. They lie and lack integrity. These people aren’t leaders—they’re autocrats. We’ve met and worked with such persons, and no doubt you too have your own book of experiences with the type.

There are others who genuinely perceive, engage, connect, and generate influence far beyond their span of formal authority. They earn the designation of “leader” from their followers. They are authentic. They know and understand themselves and help others do the same. They perceive themselves as part of a larger system. They think deeply. They practice leadership expansively. They grasp a puzzle, shape a strategy, and courageously guide others on a path barely seen.

It is these remarkably captivating people we call meta-leaders. You will encounter them throughout this book. You too can choose to be one.

Becoming a Meta-Leader

We, your authors, have woven our perspectives and experiences into the concepts, tools, and stories in this book. The real author of your leadership experience, however, is you. Experience the book. Don’t simply read it. If you passively peruse these pages without actively integrating what you learn into your mind-set and practices, you will not derive the full benefit of the time and effort you invest.

Leadership is active, not passive. So too is the process of expanding your leadership capacities and capabilities. We suggest that you keep a journal—a record of your thoughts, experiences, victories, and challenges. It will be a powerful exercise in reflection and revelation as you explore what meta-leadership means to you. We get incredibly positive feedback from our students once they try it. When you keep a journal, you reflect on yourself in ways that are both surprising and reaffirming. You take responsibility. This is part of what “you’re it” means.

Your journal doesn’t need to be a fancy leather-bound volume, and your entries don’t have to go on for pages. You may only jot down a few bullet points at a time. The aim is to learn more about yourself by taking a moment in time to document your experiences as a person and as a meta-leader.

To help, we provide you open-ended questions at the end of each chapter to launch and inspire your thinking. Ideally, you will ask yourself throughout the reading: What am I learning about myself? What am I missing that hinders my ability to accurately assess what is happening around me? How can I learn best from the mistakes I’ve made? These are tough questions, and many leaders avoid them because they are embarrassing and sometimes painful.

The journal is just for you. It is a gift you give yourself. If our questions don’t motivate you, ask yourself different ones. There are no right or wrong questions. Make this book your own, a guide and a challenge to develop knowledge and ways of being a meta-leader when it matters most.




ONE

102 HOURS IN CRISIS

The Boston Marathon Bombings Response

Monday, April 15, 2013, 2:49 p.m., Boston, Massachusetts. It is a mild, sunny day—perfect for running a marathon. The elite runners finished the course a couple of hours earlier. Now the rest of the runners are making their way down Boylston Street to the finish line in front of the Boston Public Library. The flags of every nation with a participating runner flutter above the cheering crowd.

Suddenly, there’s a flash and a deafening sound: as a bomb detonates in front of a running store across from the library. The explosion reverberates through the city’s historic Back Bay neighborhood. People scream. Others, shocked and confused, are silent. Smoke billows into the air. Fourteen seconds later, a second bomb blast, one block west. Windows shatter. Shrapnel flies. The injured fall to the ground. Everyone realizes that something is horribly wrong. The crowd panics. First responders leap into action.

On Friday, April 19, at 8:42 p.m.—102 hours later—the second of two suspects in the bombings is captured in suburban Watertown, nine miles west of Boylston Street. After an exhaustive manhunt, the terrifying story comes to an end.

In between, 102 hours of grief, grit, heroism, and resilience have passed—102 hours that tested leaders and their followers.

The bombs on Marathon Monday instantly killed three people and injured 264, many with life-threatening wounds. Survivors were dispatched to waiting trauma centers for urgent care. On Tuesday and Wednesday, hospitals treated the wounded, an investigation began, and Boston remained in shock. On Thursday, April 18, law enforcement officials released grainy photos of the suspects, their faces obscured by the brims of their baseball hats. Hours later, the two launched a crime spree, murdering an MIT police officer.

The attacks were the work of two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Early Friday, Tamerlan died during a wild shoot-out with police officers in Watertown in which another police officer was grievously wounded. Dzhokhar vanished into the night.

The next day a voluntary shelter-in-place directive was issued for the metropolitan area. Boston was a ghost town populated only by law enforcement officers. The exception to the quiet was Watertown, where heavily armed officers worked door-to-door, looking for the younger Tsarnaev. After a daylong manhunt, he was apprehended huddled in a boat stored in the owner’s backyard.

There was great tragedy that week. For those who lost loved ones and for those injured, the pain endures.

Leadership Lessons

We studied the leaders of the response to the Boston Marathon bombings, a number of whom were either graduates of the NPLI executive crisis leadership program at Harvard or had participated in meta-leadership seminars we offered locally. These people were eager to share what happened, what they did, how they applied meta-leadership lessons, and what they learned from their experiences. Our research uncovered valuable lessons that can be applied to both crisis and routine conditions. Our interviewees included law enforcement and emergency response officials, political leaders, businesspeople, and citizens—in other words, those who shaped those turbulent hours. We sought to understand what happened in the response, why it happened, and what impact it had. Our work was exploration. From the outset, we were not sure what we would find.

There were stories of remarkable leadership and courage. Amid the tragedy, there were successes. Despite staggering injuries, all who survived the initial bomb blasts lived, a remarkable achievement resulting from diligent planning and practice by medical responders, care providers, and their leaders. The suspects were captured in 102 hours, ending an ordeal that gripped the city. And Boston was resilient. “Boston Strong”—the slogan that rang through the city and beyond—meant something. That strength was modeled by astute leaders in their behavior and in their interactions. They methodically worked together, exemplifying the principles and practices of meta-leadership. The decisions and actions of these leaders together rallied a city reeling from shock and eager to help.

We opened all our interviews at the same place: the minutes just before the attacks. “It’s 2:45 p.m. on Monday, April 15. Where are you and what are you doing?” we asked. And then, “What happened next?”

The responses portrayed an extraordinary series of triumphs. These people had intentionally prepared themselves to lead. What they achieved was by no means an accident. For years, major public events in Boston—Independence Day, New Year’s festivities, championship celebrations, and the Marathon itself—had served as practice drills to test system strengths and weaknesses. What if calamity struck? How well would the many different responding organizations and their people work together? These exercises had given leaders the chance to build relationships as they pondered the dire circumstances they might face together. The deliberate exercises readied them to lead.

Their collective experience translated into a sense of leadership confidence. We heard over and over that, with the initial news of the bombings, there was a quick moment of shock. Then, in an instant, their training and preparation rang reassuringly in their minds: I can do this. As they moved into action, their faith in others and the system resonated as well: We can do this. And they got to work.

Exemplary meta-leadership practices were evident during the event, providing us with important real-world examples and lessons. While you likely will not guide the response to a terrorist attack, these lessons apply to coordinating the high-stakes work of many different people and organizations when both the process and outcome of your combined work is unknowable. The response we observed in the extreme circumstances of the Boston Marathon bombings can inform day-to-day leadership scenarios as well. We found consistent principles and practices that you can harness to increase the collective success of the endeavors you lead. We share and explore these findings in later chapters of the book.

Leadership Is Personal

Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) director Jimmy Hooley was in the city-block-long Alpha medical tent just beyond the Marathon finish line. “I heard the first explosion, and I thought it was a propane tank from one of the street vendors, or maybe a car backfiring. Then I heard the second explosion and I knew right away it was an attack,” he told us.

Shortly before the Marathon bombings, Jim Hooley and Lenny Marcus had one of their periodic conversations about Jim’s leadership. He had moved up the ranks of Boston EMS from paramedic to chief. A quiet, hardworking guy, Jim leads more by example than by charisma. During that conversation, Jim shared that being a leader is work for him. “Sometimes, if I am at a mass casualty event, I have to remind myself to assume that leadership position. My instinct tells me to get on the ground and treat people. That’s what I do and what I am good at. Leading for me takes effort.”

Leading EMS is a complex endeavor. Some ambulances are part of the city fleet, while others belong to a variety of private companies, all using a central 911 dispatch center. Having learned from bombings elsewhere in the world, Hooley knew that it was critical to distribute the injured across the multiple trauma centers in the city lest any single hospital become overwhelmed. He also knew that those with minor injuries were likely to get themselves to hospitals—and in advance of the ambulances with more serious cases. Coordination was required with police and fire officials. He also knew that the confused and panicked crowds would present a constant risk of distraction.

Fortunately, Hooley and other leaders had thought through the decisions they would need to make. Plans were in place and they had rehearsed their actions, so they all understood what was expected of them and what they could expect from others. They had built trust-based relationships with each other. On that April day, all that planning, practice and persistence paid off.

Eleven days after the bombings, Jim and Lenny met up again. That prior conversation was still fresh. After exchanging greetings, Lenny merely asked, “So…?” “I was the leader,” Jim replied. “It was tough, but I realized we had to get this right. One of the people was dying, and I had this urge to get on the ground and work on her. But I didn’t. Somebody had to keep the eye on the big picture and that was me, the leader. We had to get those people out of there and in the right order, and I was on top of that. I was also thinking, What if there is another bomb?

Genre:

  • "Whether the situation you're facing is ordinary or extraordinary, You're It! can equip you with the tools to lead people effectively through times of change and turmoil."—Doug Conant, Founder and CEO, ConantLeadership, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company
  • "A practical, how-to manual for those who must exercise leadership in crisis situations. You're It is a highly readable, essential primer for anyone who is called to lead when people need it most."—Janet Napolitano, Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary, President of the University of California, and author of How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11
  • "Every leader dreams (and agonizes) about his or her "leadership moment"-that singular crisis or challenge that will test our character and define our legacy. You're It shows what it takes to prepare for that moment. Its insights, frameworks, and genuinely riveting stories will prepare leaders in any field to seize an opportunity or avoid disaster. Read this book, take its lessons to heart, and get ready to lead."—William C. Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company and author of Simply Brilliant
  • "The real beauty of this highly readable book is that today, we all find ourselves leading through crises at work, in our families, and in our communities. And it is packed with fresh, new ideas about leadership that are brilliant, practical and relevant. The authors' model for how to think, what to do, and how to unite people when extreme crisis hits works, and they've got excellent research and fascinating stories from real life to prove it."—Annie McKee, bestselling author and Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
  • "Combining meticulously engaging theory with heart stopping anecdotes from the top crisis leaders of our times, You're It provides all of us with what to do, and what not to do, when it matters the most. This is a book that takes us beyond the clichés of leadership literature, and provides tools that will make us smarter, more self-aware, and better prepared to when we are tested."—Juliette Kayyem, Former Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, Faculty Chair, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Homeland Security Program
  • "You're It is a comprehensive resource for individual and organizational preparedness leadership. As a Governor, I faced several disasters, natural and man-made, and came to realize, being prepared is not just having plans and designated resources, but it is building trust and working together for an organic, agile and effective response. This work shows us that pathway, meta-leadership, arming future generations with the tools, knowledge and the ability to reach beyond themselves when destiny says, 'You're it'."—Ernest "Ernie" Fletcher, former member, U.S. House of Representatives, former governor, Kentucky
  • "In a world where both challenges and opportunities are increasingly complex and simultaneously nuanced, leaders navigate ambiguity at every turn. In You're It, readers will find practical insights and illuminating stories about what it takes to make hard choices when the future seems more chaotic than clear. Readers will also find inspiration and understanding of what it takes to succeed in a crisis whether it is local or international. You're It is the crisis playbook for the 21st century."—Farah Pandith, author of How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat
  • "Drawing on the experience of dozens of leaders during times of crisis, You're It breaks new ground in our understanding of leadership performance when disaster strikes. Its compelling narrative identifies practical ways leaders can prepare in advance of calamity. This book is a must read for those who want to understand how improving leadership skills can drive better outcomes."—Alice Hill, Former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Resilience on the National Security Council, author of Building a Resilient Tomorrow: Preparing for the Coming Climate Disruption
  • "You're It is an essential prep course for leaders and leaders-in-the-making who are at risk for ending up on the frontlines of a crisis. Whether used as an individual guide to personal and professional development or a comprehensive curriculum for risk management team planning, You're It fits the bill."—Julie Louise Gerberding, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer; Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy, and Population Health; Former Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • "Meta- Leadership has fundamentally changed both the way I think about and practice leadership. I have integrated many of the concepts to include, the "walk in the woods", "cone in the cube', "swarm leadership" and "going to the basement" into my leadership philosophy and my daily approach to getting the most out of my teammates and the ~600,000 men and women who serve in the United States Air Force. The core principles are easily understood and applicable to a first-time supervisor as well as a CEO; I have implemented these concepts in my daily interactions with my senior executive team and presented them to thousands during keynote addresses, executive development programs and small group discussions and the feedback has been phenomenal! Meta-Leadership has made me a better executive, supervisor and teammate."—Kaleth O. Wright Chief, Master Sergeant of the Air Force
  • "This is a must-read for a leader who will face crisis--which is every leader. The stories are instructive and the insights are broadly applicable, including to those on the frontlines of the covid-19 pandemic. I highly recommend You're It; this is a book we can go back to time after time for lessons in leadership and life."—Leana Wen, MD MSc, Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at George Washington University; ER doctor; Former Baltimore City Health Commissioner
  • "At a time when public and private institutions face an unprecedented number of intense crises, this volume offers an insightful and practical guide to fostering the leadership skills needed to navigate successfully through challenge."



    Michael Chertoff, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security (2005-2009)

On Sale
Mar 16, 2021
Page Count
320 pages
Publisher
PublicAffairs
ISBN-13
9781541768048

Leonard J. Marcus

About the Author

Leonard J. Marcus, Ph.D. is the founding co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard and an internationally recognized authority on leadership during times of crisis and change. Eric J. McNulty, M.A. is Associate Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and an Instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is a contributing editor and columnist at strategy+business magazine and writes periodically for Harvard Business Review and others. Dr. Barry Dorn, M.D., M.H.C.M. is Senior Advisor of the Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Harvard T.H. Chan of Public Health and faculty member of The National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He is a retired orthopedic surgeon. Joseph M. Henderson, M.P.A. is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan of Public Health and is on the faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He retired from the U.S. Government in 2018 as a member of the Senior Executive Service.

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Eric J. McNulty

About the Author

Eric J. McNulty, M.A. is Associate Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and an Instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is a contributing editor and columnist at strategy+business magazine and writes periodically for Harvard Business Review and others.

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