conference blog.pngEric McNulty is Director of Research & Professional Programs at Harvard’s National Leadership Preparedness Institute and will be a guest speaker for the session “Leading Through Crisis” at CFOLC’s 2018 CFO Leadership Conference on May 9-10, 2018.  Here’s a sneak peak of Eric McNulty’s discussion.  

Based on 15 years of research on leaders in the midst of major crises—from extreme weather to terror attacks to industrial accidents—Eric McNulty will present the common mistakes that befall leaders as well as how to overcome them. With each risk, McNulty will present a practical, proven tool for turning hazard into opportunity.

Pitfall #1
Going to the Emotional Basement. The human brain has a hard-wired survival response to threat that prevents rational thinking and complex problem solving. It takes you to your “emotional basement.” McNulty will explain how to get “smarter than your brain” in order to climb out of the basement and lead effectively.

Pitfall #2
Getting Locked in a Narrow View. In crisis, there is a natural tendency to focus on what is immediately in front of you. Leaders, however, must see the broader picture in order to fully understand the crisis and what should be done. McNulty will present the “cone in the cube” tool for gaining perspective and psychological distance that enables more accurate situational awareness.

Pitfall #3
Becoming a Single Point of Failure. Executives facing crisis often pull inwards. They want to control everything and make every decision. This greatly diminishes the capacity for effective response. McNulty will discuss how to increase both capacity and capability by leveraging a crisis management team.

Pitfall #4
Failure to Adapt Over Time. Crises evolve over time. Too often, the operational assumptions and accepted “facts” fail to keep pace. When this happens, you mis-allocate resources and try to solve the wrong problems. McNulty will present the POP-DOC tool as a guide for building disciplined evolution of the response to changes in the situation.

Pitfall #5
Failure to Communicate. In every crisis studied by the NPLI, there has been an issue with communications. Sometime it is internal. At other times it involves the media. Mistakes in crisis communications erode trust among stakeholders and can cause serious operational missteps. McNulty will explore how to think of information, decisions, and actions in terms of flow.

McNulty will illustrate these points with stories from his firsthand field experience with events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, super storm Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombings.

Eric_McNulty Headshot-917746-edited.jpgEric McNulty is Director of Research & Professional Programs at Harvard’s National Leadership Preparedness Institute.  He is leading the session “Leading Through Crisis” at The CFOLC’s 2018 CFO Leadership Conference on May 9-10, 2018.  

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