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Episode 31: Learning about Change and Leadership Through Crisis

Eric McNulty, Associate Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, an instructor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and co-author of the book, You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When it Matters Most joins us for this episode of Change@Work. He and host, Chris Thornton, discuss what we can learn about human behavior, change, and resilience through his research and analysis of national crises including the Boston Marathon bombings, Hurricane Sandy, and Covid. He explains how these crises can force necessary change, bring out humanity and empathy in business, and promote a sense of unity amongst organizations and communities.


This transcript was automatically generated with artificial intelligence. It’s in the queue to go through a review with human eyes!

00;00;00;00 – 00;00;30;08

Hello and welcome back to Change@Work. I’m your host, Chris Thornton, a senior principal here at Daggerwing Group. And this episode of Change@Work, we are talking to Eric McNulty, a Harvard University professor and author. Eric’s work and research has focused on leadership during crisis, things like the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Sandy, and, of course, COVID.

00;00;30;10 – 00;00;54;12

He also focuses on resilience in organizations and communities. The ability to handle stress and having systems in place that allow people to function and perhaps even thrive during crisis. All really amazing and insightful work. During my conversation with Eric, he explains how crises force change and how they can bring out the human element of businesses as they work to support each other.

00;00;54;14 – 00;01;24;01

He gets into how doing change with people, including them in the process and giving them agency versus doing change to them, can assist in, buy in and motivate action. He also explains how empathy, honesty and truth in communication can build trust in leadership. There’s so much we can learn from his work, so let’s get to it. Eric McNulty Joining us today is Eric McNulty, associate director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.

00;01;24;01 – 00;01;46;00

And instructor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and coauthor of the book A Year at Crisis Change and How to Lead When It Matters Most. Eric, thanks so much for joining us. My pleasure, Chris. Thanks for having me. of course. Before we dig into your work and to your expertise, let’s get to know you as a person.

00;01;46;03 – 00;02;04;20

What is one thing you wish you could do more of if you had the time? I would like to spend more time birding. Birding. Since COVID, it’s gotten kind of popular. I’ve been doing it for a long time, but it gets you out into beautiful places, often with a little bit of solitude, an excuse to turn the phone off.

00;02;04;20 – 00;02;27;19

So yeah. So yeah, I would like to be out birding more often. All right. We’re digging into birding. What’s your favorite bird? the black bellied plover, which is only about it. So it’s a little shorebird. It’s got a white back, a black belly. It’s why it’s called the black plover. And I identify with it When I found out that it used to be called a chuckle head, and I thought, you know what?

00;02;27;20 – 00;02;45;00

I’m kind of a chuckle here, too, so we must have something in common. Right. One thing I’ve wondered about birders, do you get bored seeing the same ones? Is it like a Pokémon thing where you’re like, you got to catch more or I already have that one. I want to see something new. Or do you do you enjoy seeing what you’ve seen before?

00;02;45;02 – 00;03;06;17

So there’s there’s different kinds of birders, and there are folks who are out pursuing a life list, like how many different species can I see? And they travel the world and they’re kind of obsessive about it. That’s not me. Okay. I like to see new birds. That’s kind of fun. I also like seeing my old favorites. So when The Goldfinch is right now popping around because they’re late breeders, so I’m seeing a lot of them around my house right now.

00;03;06;20 – 00;03;23;14

I love seeing them come back and see them around my shorebirds. I get I love seeing the old favorites because I typically see what’s going on with the ecosystem. Yeah, you have a need to have fewer, you know, whatever. But a new one is always kind of fun to see too. Weird question. Just go with me. Okay. Is there somebody.

00;03;23;19 – 00;03;45;01

Is there a bird? Somebody. See, I just turned into a person. Is there a bird that you’re seeing? You’re like, I think we’re friends. And those are the Sandra links and link to the smallest of the little shorebirds. And they’re sort of the friendliest. They will you know, you can get pretty close to them as you’re walking along the beach and they’ll kind of run up beside you and they’ll run away a little bit and they’ll come back.

00;03;45;03 – 00;04;02;27

So they’re kind of very sociable chickadees, too. If you have chickadees where you are, you can put sunflower seeds in your hand, sit quietly and run, or just pop over to your hand and start eating. So they’re kind of sociable, too. Yeah. Have you had a crow bring you a gift yet? I have not had that. That seems like a dream for me.

00;04;02;27 – 00;04;20;17

That would be amazing. To get a gift from a crow, grow, steal things that never bring me anything. okay. All right, folks, if you don’t know about crows, check it out. Get on, get on. Tick tock. Check out some crow Tic tac. It’s pretty cool. All right. What’s something that you’ve learned this year that you wish you had learned sooner?

00;04;20;20 – 00;04;46;25

I think, like probably everybody in the audience, I kind of sprung up from a concept to, my God is here. And I wish I had thought through that more. It was more ahead of the curve a bit because now I feel like I’m playing catch up. So I’ve begun to learn to play with it and have it do interesting things and also figure out how my students are going to try and do some certain things I don’t want them to do with it.

00;04;46;27 – 00;05;07;01

So I wish I had been a little bit further ahead of the curve on that. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. All right. Let’s get into the work side of things. Tell us first about your podcast here. So my podcast is called Leader Ready Cast. It comes out of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, and we look at challenges for leaders, particularly in high stakes, high pressure situations.

00;05;07;04 – 00;05;32;22

Tell me, even more about the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. How did that start? What’s it about? Sure. We’ve been around for 20 years, believe it or not. And we study crisis leaders. It started after 911, when you may recall, it was famously in the in the report afterwards. It was a failure of imagination. And, yes, the inability of different parts of the government to work very well together.

00;05;32;24 – 00;05;53;23

We were given some money. Does it start a program and begin to explore that issue and bring people together to try and solve the connectivity issue? I think we’ve made great progress. We certainly haven’t gotten there yet. We see examples every day of it not working as well as it should. We studied leaders in those times. What it really meant when you’re you’re it right when it’s all on the line.

00;05;53;26 – 00;06;19;24

Yeah, we do a lot of field research. So I deployed to the Gulf Stream Deepwater Horizon. I was down in New York and New Jersey. After Sandy, there was the CDC down through three major events, covered Ebola and H1N1, Boston Marathon bombings. Did a lot of research around that. And that’s right in my backyard. And so my colleagues and I, we actually get out with leaders in the moment or as soon after as we can get there when we’re invited in to really see what works and what doesn’t.

00;06;19;24 – 00;06;41;06

We’re really challenges them, where were they struggling with? And then we turn that into a curriculum, very practical curriculum that we we offer through a series of executive education programs that are, again, people, leaders in the fields. We’re not big theoreticians. Yeah, we’re writing the most academic papers. We’re really we’re trying to help those who save lives, save some more.

00;06;41;12 – 00;07;04;00

Wow. Wow. How did you get into that? Like, why? I don’t want to. I’m not saying, like, why you and somebody else, but, like, why? Why? Or that’s a very specific focus for your career. So why that? So my career is is a long and twisted path and we haven’t got enough hours in the day to go through all the twists and turns.

00;07;04;03 – 00;07;28;20

Okay. But the program came about because one of my just just retired colleagues who was at the CDC at the time, he said bad leadership is a public health risk because people die. And so he was the initial one who gave us the funding to get this started and say, did you fix this? As well? As we look at all the technical aspects of things and the procedures and the protocols and all that stuff?

00;07;28;27 – 00;07;59;06

Yeah, the leadership piece that will have a positive impact on people’s lives. So that’s how the program came about. I actually got here quite by serendipity. Before working here. I was at the Harvard Business Publishing School or at the other part of Harvard where I helped them, started running a global conference business, and that was my sort of eight year informal MBA because I was working with some of the smartest people on the planet who were my speakers and panelists or whatever, CEOs and academics or whatever.

00;07;59;08 – 00;08;18;11

And that’s when I really got interested in this whole topic of leadership and was introduced to it in a more formal way. And it really intrigued me. And I again thought that this is the human side of organizations. I have a real passion for trying to make our organizations more humane, more pleasurable, more exciting and interesting so people are engaged and doing great work.

00;08;18;11 – 00;08;45;12

You spend a whole lot of time at our work settings. How do we make it as great as possible for everyone? And so that was to me, that was a big part of the work of leadership, and that’s how I was brought into it. And I happened to have met the folks who ran the IntelliJ and they when the conference business was coming to an end because of a small financial dip back in 2008, you may recall the Great Recession, and then the office business was gone overnight.

00;08;45;14 – 00;09;07;08

They asked me to come over and help them initially do some research in writing and then eventually some teaching. And I just found this world of crisis again really interesting and not just the, you know, the wildfires and the floods and the sudden onset events we’re seeing now. But the larger challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and those kind of larger, complex social crises as well.

00;09;07;11 – 00;09;37;04

So I’m going to go off topic here. Okay. All right. So you deal with people in very intense situations where loss of life is is probable, if not guaranteed. What gives you hope right now in those situations? How do you keep going back into a really, really life defining situation, not just for you, but for those who are actively involved?

00;09;37;06 – 00;09;58;15

How do you keep going back in? Is is there hope in that? There is there is hope in that because I, I keep meeting more and more extraordinary people who are making those decisions, struggling with those decisions, trying to do the best, being very selfless, not worried about their own career or their how good they’re going to look at the end.

00;09;58;15 – 00;10;21;17

But like, how do I make this situation better? And I meet more and more of them. And as I across all sectors and I get I get to meet people from all kinds of interesting places. But yeah, I still find people who are who are deeply human, deeply caring, and really committing themselves to doing things better than the brief example.

00;10;21;17 – 00;10;40;10

If we have time. I just spent some time today. I’m going to be teaching in an upcoming program we’re doing for Self, for an organization called the Military Spouses Advocacy Network. Okay. The organization No one listening is ever heard of. And there are 50 military spouses who’ve been selected out of a pool of the thousands who apply to the program.

00;10;40;12 – 00;11;00;02

And I did three interviews today with four of the people who were all aside from being spouses and parents. And that usual stuff are leading on issues they care about. The first person was has been working really hard on food insecurity of the military. May not realize it, but there’s a lot of food insecurity because of wages and cost of living.

00;11;00;04 – 00;11;27;15

Yeah. The second person is work is working on suicide prevention and care giving to trauma survivors. Again. Whoa. Huge issue. Big need. And so we went through that thinking you’re a people who, you know, you’ve never heard of them. They’re part of our organization most people have never heard of. And they’re working really hard to make things better and find a cause they care about in their committing their time, their resources, their energy to making it about making the world a better place.

00;11;27;19 – 00;11;50;13

That gives me hope. Yeah. And it just gave me goose bumps. It’s a you don’t be offensive if you didn’t have hope when people are working that hard. Yeah, you have hope. Just look around. I think. Yeah, Yeah. Get outside of yourself and start talking with people. And, Eric, I think you’ve found some interesting research. It’s not about birding, but it’s about swarming.

00;11;50;14 – 00;12;15;09

Tell us about that. So after the Boston Marathon bombings, we’re doing our research. We found something very interesting, which was that no one was in charge in the traditional operational sense of being an operational command. And typically, in a large event, you can always point to the formerly designated incident commander. There’s a very strict structure and a lot of hierarchy.

00;12;15;11 – 00;12;43;22

And so we were sort of confused and went back to the notes and we’re looking at trying to figure out this was one of our engineers subjects who had said, you know, we kind of did this together and we’re trying to figure this out. And I went back to my birding where there’s a phenomenon. MURMURATION You can go on YouTube and look it up and you’ll see some beautiful aerial ballets of birds who are doing these big flocks of birds, which is very intricate movements.

00;12;43;23 – 00;13;06;25

Sure. And they don’t bump into each other. There’s no choreography for it. There’s no director, there’s no manual. There was no training class. They do this. And that’s an example of what’s known as swarm intelligence. You know, he’s said ants and other nonhuman species achieve complex social outcomes. And it turns out there are some foundational conditions for this to happen.

00;13;06;25 – 00;13;25;26

This shared identity. There are ways to communicate and there are decision making protocols that are shared by all. And so when you’ve got those in place and then there are some behaviors, social behaviors or social cues as to what to do. And so we sort of put that lens over the research we had done of the Boston Marathon bombings.

00;13;25;29 – 00;13;47;01

And we saw particularly there was shared identity. They were all part of the marathon crew, even though they came from different agencies and different towns and cities. It’s a very complex event. They had ways to communicate and they had worked through a lot of decision making protocols in advance because we’ve run the marathon as a planned disaster for many, many years as a way of rehearsing it.

00;13;47;05 – 00;14;15;11

We looked at the behaviors and it turned out there were five behavioral aspects of things were very consistent. First of all, there was unity of mission. Everyone was talked about saving lives, the course, first responders, that’s what they do. So they were thinking that way. The hospitals, obviously, the doctors thought about saving lives, but even people like the Boston Athletic Association that runs the race, they were taking care of families, making sure that the injured were taking care of and connecting them back to families.

00;14;15;13 – 00;14;39;05

They were worried about it. The businesses in the area all cooperating because they wanted to save lives. The second thing was generosity of spirit in action. People were helping each other out, and that was different organizations reaching across, helping each other out with the general public, many of whom stayed after the bombings to help evacuate the injured or wounded, which is not the sort of response you would expect after a bombing.

00;14;39;05 – 00;15;01;07

You expect everyone to run, right? Example, if, for example, during the 102 hours between the bombings and the apprehension of the second suspect, a lot of generosity. At the same time, people own their lanes. So there were chains of command in place and people were doing their jobs. Those chains of command were working well. So Boston police met state police, the various agencies and organizations.

00;15;01;13 – 00;15;25;20

They were working well up and down internally that credibility and reliability kept Lane keep away, but it also gave them the freedom to then accept the generosity or extend the generosity. The fourth piece, this is a hard one for human beings, but there was a lot of ego control, a lot of high emotional intelligence. And I know you all are leaders fairly well in the realm of former students.

00;15;25;23 – 00;15;45;26

There were no shrinking walls, no wallflowers, no shrinking violet among their class, but they kept their egos in check and they really quickly realized they were either going to succeed together or fail together. And so when they had their differences, they worked them out behind closed doors. They kept a unified front of the public. There was no fingerpointing, no credit taking except as a group.

00;15;46;02 – 00;16;10;27

And then finally, what it all was built on was the foundation of trust based relationships. So I mentioned that we run the marathon of the planned disaster for the ten years prior to the marathon bombings because we had had a host, the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and we’re never really ready for it before it got I mean, we were ready for it when it arrived, But when they first started planning, they realized with a lot of work to be done.

00;16;11;00 – 00;16;30;06

And so in those ten years through that period up until the bombings, there had been a lot of work across agencies, getting people used to working together with people whose uniforms were different or from a different town. And so there were trust based relationships. And we were very lucky that the mayor was a five term mayor. So everybody knew and trusted him.

00;16;30;06 – 00;16;48;08

He was a friend of the governor, was in his second, who was a friend of the president. So those things all lined up nicely, but it was a trust based relationship. So anybody who wants to create that kind of behavior start at the bottom and work up, build that those trust based relationships that makes everything else possible. Wonderful.

00;16;48;12 – 00;17;10;10

Thank you for that. Thank you for that. One of the things that you tend to focus on, I believe, is the topic of resilience. So how did you get there? This is actually kind of a funny story. So when I joined the employee, one of my first assignments was to prepare a briefing for the Resilience Policy director of the National Security Council at the White House.

00;17;10;12 – 00;17;30;29

While I was very impressed, right. I wasn’t even in my my colleagues who were better known at the time were invited, but I was asked to prepare the brief. And so I said, what do they want to know? They said, What is resilience? What should they know? What resilience is there? The Resilience Policy Directorate Yeah. And so but actually they were still struggling with it.

00;17;30;29 – 00;17;50;03

And it’s still it’s still a word that gets thrown around a lot. There’s lots of different definitions. And so diving in there, one of things that intrigued me was I found that I looked into the psychology literature. I found one whole group of thinkers, and that’s when resilience is all between your ears, right? It’s all individual. It’s very much mental.

00;17;50;05 – 00;18;15;10

If I were to walk across campus and talk to the environmental folks, they’ve got a very different definition of resilience. It’s all about the ability to to change without losing function. Reform evolves the change focused evolution that so ecosystems remain resilient. And if I go to the structural engineers in another part of campus, they could get a different definition of resilience depending without breaking human walls, they can withstand a lot of stress.

00;18;15;12 – 00;18;35;26

That’s how they look at resilience. And just to even today, you can go to conferences where they’re talking about resilience and they’re having those three separate conversations. And my insight, I, I don’t have any brilliant insight. I connect dots is that for us, there are organizations in our communities to be resilient. You need all three of those. Yeah, you’ve got to be mentally tough.

00;18;35;26 – 00;18;57;19

We are human. Both systems have got to be able to withstand stress and we’ve got to be able to change and evolve over time to deal with a changing world. And so that’s how I first got into it, but continue to explore that topic and find it. It’s still resonates and it’s really, really interesting when you think about the impact of COVID, Did we learn anything?

00;18;57;19 – 00;19;26;01

Did you learn anything, or were your insights reinforced on what you already knew about resilience? Well, I think with with COVID, it was interesting to me that there was a lot more fragility in our system than I think we realized. We saw that in the stresses to the health care system. We saw it in supply chain issues. I mean, there was a lot of things that were very fragile and a lot of folks who live on the edge or who don’t have the money to make it through a couple of weeks without a paycheck.

00;19;26;04 – 00;19;43;19

The people whose education gets disrupted and they fall behind really quickly. So there’s a lot of fragility there. And I think that, I hate to say, is one of the good things about COVID, but it helped reveal the system to itself. We all get to see that we couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there, and hopefully we can go get some energy to help fix that.

00;19;43;21 – 00;20;05;06

But he also saw amazing resilience of people coming together to take care of each other, communities bonding and whether it was shopping for each other or one of my local restaurants here in Boston. Certainly no diners that you could go online and order a burrito for a health care worker. And they were just preparing food and delivering it every day.

00;20;05;06 – 00;20;36;28

And so there was all that kind of ingenuity that popped up as well. And I think that I think there is going to be some residual trauma, I think, particularly for kids whose education was interrupted. And I think we underestimated that. There’s a tool we use at the NPL called the Cone of the Cube. And if you think of a box and you can’t see inside of it, but we cut a hole in the inside of it is a cone so pointy end up top rounded in the bottom like cut a hole the top you look in, you’re going to see a circle.

00;20;37;00 – 00;20;55;22

They cut a hole in the top. You’re going to look in and you’re going to see a triangle. Yeah. So who’s right? Okay. Yeah, those views are right and who’s wrong? Both views are wrong. So I think we get to these situations for people. Public health looks into one of those peoples and they see a situation and they’re like, stop the disease.

00;20;55;25 – 00;21;23;05

That’s what they’re trained to do. And they don’t now fully appreciate the impact on education, on the economy. Other places where, you know, if you’re just not an expert, you don’t see it as clearly. And so I think that we I what I hope we’ve learned out of this is we really need to bring those perspectives together as we’re developing policy, because everybody, I think, was trying to do the right thing, but there was a place we could have adjusted and done better.

00;21;23;07 – 00;21;50;18

Yeah, I was working with a pharmaceutical client and their medical safety directors and without going into too many details, they weren’t always coming back with the most human response and with their response to the are working with them was we didn’t know that’s what you wanted. We were doing the medical safety job, right? And so we were we were showing up with that kind of response.

00;21;50;18 – 00;22;10;23

We didn’t know you wanted a fully human response. We’re human. We can do that. But we didn’t know that that’s what was needed. We were just doing our jobs in what was expected of us. Is there anything in terms of resilience that you think we learned about broadening our perspective, or did we dig our heels and into our own perspective?

00;22;10;25 – 00;22;36;03

Well, obviously, a lot of variability across, of course, responses to this. I will say we did a piece of research where we talked to nine global companies in across sectors. We wanted to see were there any cross-cutting themes? And it was one of the the most heartening things was the humanity of the response. It literally to a person, the CEOs when looking at this said, take care of people, good job.

00;22;36;03 – 00;22;54;04

Don’t worry about the business case right now. We’ll figure it out. Take care of people, repeat employees or customers, make sure people are safe. And so I was really heartened to see that was the first reaction as opposed to cut costs or, you know, protect the business. No, it was take care of people will figure the business part out.

00;22;54;06 – 00;23;17;08

And they did. I mean, and which was good. Some businesses were better, some were worse, depending on the industry. But that again, I think when we talk about resilience, it really arises from people taking care of people, right? It is not. We all build resilience systems one individual at a time. We build resilient individuals through a resilient system.

00;23;17;11 – 00;23;33;17

So when you know you have people you can count on, when people are reaching out to help, when you can reach out and help others, that’s what goes your resilience. So it is that very human piece and that connectivity that is so important, not that each of us is some sort of pillar of strength. We can withstand any threat, right?

00;23;33;20 – 00;24;07;11

Absolutely. You talked about the Boston bombings. Hurricane Sandy lived through that nearly broke my family and myself. We just moved back to New Jersey, lost a whole lot of stuff in a flood. No, no, no, no. I mean, we’re fine. We just lost stuff, right? That’s it. And that’s its own stress. But. But we were fine. What are some key principles leaders need to know regarding crisis leadership and communication that have come out of those kinds of situations?

00;24;07;13 – 00;24;25;11

Well, I think that, first of all, leaders need to tell the truth. You know, that’s the old line from the I think it’s A Few Good Men. The Jack Nicholson line of You Can’t Handle the Truth. The people can handle the truth. And they’re really good at knowing when you’re not telling them the truth. Yeah, when you’re not telling them the truth, they’re thinking, What are you hiding?

00;24;25;14 – 00;24;43;28

Why are you not telling me this when you begin to get susceptibility to misinformation and disinformation? So first of all, tell them the truth and to the greatest extent you can. Secondly, when you’re telling people, tell them what you know, but also tell them what you don’t know. Don’t think you have to be perfect and all knowing none of us are.

00;24;44;00 – 00;25;03;22

So you can say we don’t know X, Y, or Z. It’s good to then say, Here’s what we’re doing to try and figure that out so they know you’re working on it. But also you want to give people something to do because it gives them back agency. You give people some control and it can be something not even particularly meaningful.

00;25;03;25 – 00;25;29;00

You know, reboot your computers, sneeze into your elbow, give them some do or some control that calms people down. It takes them out of that panic response and gets them back into a place where they can be more productive and they can begin to begin that process of recovery. So I think and and never, never, ever forget the empathy.

00;25;29;03 – 00;25;46;13

You’ve got to you know, this is this is where the executive stumble because they are again, people think, they just want to make sure we know what we’re doing. Or the lawyers have said, don’t say too much because we’re going to get sued over this. I don’t think there’s ever a time when you don’t when you can’t express remorse for loss of life.

00;25;46;13 – 00;26;15;20

Yeah. You can’t express that. You feel horrible for people who’ve been hurt or the families of those people who’ve been hurt express that humanity, because people will then see that you are an actual, caring human being, not a heartless, you know, jerk. Yeah. So when you do that, people, because they get more on your side and they open themselves to hearing what else you have to say, that you’re not the enemy.

00;26;15;23 – 00;26;34;07

Yes. If you’ve done something wrong, you’re going to try and you’re going to stand up and take whatever is coming your way and try and make it right. But you actually care about what happens. And like you said, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen executives fail at that because they’re playing defense or they themselves are in a bit of shock and they don’t quite know what to do.

00;26;34;07 – 00;27;01;13

And so they go to that just the facts approach, which just turns people off. Yeah. Your book that you coauthored, your Crisis Change in How to Lead when It Matters most. I want to focus in on that change word. What have you learned about leaders during times of change? We just talked about crisis, right? So is there a difference between crisis and change that you found?

00;27;01;13 – 00;27;22;23

And is there any advice for leaders that you’d focus in on on change? Well, crises are often just points of force to change. That is a sudden contextual shift. And you’ve got it. You have to change. And that can both bring down some barriers. It can accelerate things. It also can mean you overlook things which you wish you hadn’t when you get to slow down a little bit.

00;27;22;25 – 00;27;51;22

But I think the thing with change is we so often focus on the sort of the vision or changing what we’re doing. We need to also be thinking about who we are and who we want to be through that process and give people some things you can count on. So when they can count on some core principles or the core values of the organization and they know those are not going to change the operational stuff then becomes less threatening.

00;27;51;25 – 00;28;09;21

Yeah, I think too often we just assume that people know it’s true or we just forget to say it. But I think again, when I’ve been with leaders, we’ve seen them do this effectively. They really make sure that people know we’re not going through a period of complete chaos. Here are some things that are not going to change.

00;28;09;23 – 00;28;29;12

And then here are some things that are and here’s why. And when you do change with people as opposed to to them, it it becomes a lot easier. I just spent a lot of time with a large city public health agency who is going to figure out how do they change after COVID to be ready for the next big thing.

00;28;29;14 – 00;28;49;14

And one of the things we did was we slow them down and we did a lot of conversations with people throughout the organization at every level. And learn what’s working. When we change, what should we break? Yeah, where are the things that, you know are broken that maybe others aren’t seeing what I is, You have to fix it and just bring people along.

00;28;49;15 – 00;29;05;12

That journey made them more willing to go through the change process because they knew they were being listened to. Now, when you do that kind of process, you have to do some things that show you’re actually going to take at least some of that advice and put it into action. For sure. I’m on your side, but I think I think was a myth.

00;29;05;14 – 00;29;31;28

You know, I grew up in the old days of, you know, great, the burning platform, right. That people are so very status quo that they will only if you really push them will they change that puts people in a very fear based in a situation of their people don’t work well in a fear based environment. So when you do with them, when you do, you explain the reason why and you bring in their ideas as to how you can get their people on what isn’t open to change, they see it’s necessary.

00;29;32;00 – 00;29;51;15

They want to come along and help you get there. Eric Tell us about the podcast. Host The Leader Ready, Cast. So Leader Ready Cast. It’s a podcast we do once a month. We bring on leaders in the field and we try and talk about these some of the critical elements we’ve talked about here be a communication, be it resilience.

00;29;51;17 – 00;30;16;06

I’ve got one dropping tomorrow and building an inclusive culture and we try to hit those things. It is. It’s where the crisis and change aspect of things. It’s not a general leadership podcast, but I try and find people who’ve got interesting and unusual things to say. So not just the usual bromides, but very much like we’re having today, having a casual conversation, trying to bring us some interesting points and gives people useful information.

00;30;16;06 – 00;30;47;08

I listen to a lot of podcasts. The ones I like are the ones that make me smarter, so give me some useful information. And so that’s what we try and do. And. Leader Ready glasses available wherever you get your favorite podcast. Well, thank you for making us smarter today. Eric McNulty, the associate director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, an instructor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and coauthor of the book Your Crisis Change and How to Lead When It Matters Most, and host of The Leader Ready Cast.

00;30;47;08 – 00;31;02;19

Thanks so much for joining us today. Thanks, Chris. It’s been a pleasure.

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Chris Thornton is a Senior Principal and member of the global leadership team at Daggerwing Group. In his role, Chris serves as a source of strategic counsel for Senior Executives with client firms, advising them on how to help clients achieve Executive alignment, transform their cultures and equip and enable people managers to lead and embed change. An expert in the people side of change with both client-side and consulting experience, Chris has worked with leading companies including Nestlé, Pfizer, and GE Aviation to do change right and make it stick. He is also an active speaker on business transformation, a driver of innovation in Daggerwing’s breadth of change consulting services, and the host of Daggerwing Group’s podcast, Change@Work. Chris and his wife were featured in the New York Times for their love of pie.