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Leading Through Crisis
How you can make a difference

by Christine Corelli

As the shock from the terrorist attacks is barely beginning to diminish people throughout the country are experiencing fear, anger, frustration, and many emotions they've never had to deal with in their past.  Feelings of loss of security-- physical, financial and professional are in the back of their minds, causing sleepless nights and bouts of depression. Many people who are normally highly productive and creative are having difficulty focusing, are easily distracted and unable to concentrate on routine tasks. The uncertainty is daunting for at present, it is impossible to foresee the ramifications these acts of terrorism against our great country will present to us in the foreseeable future.

Through it all, Americans are showing astounding levels of unity and patriotism. It is clear the majority realize the importance of demonstrating unity of purpose and support. Citizens, government and foreign diplomats are rallying around President Bush, and handing him wide latitude to strike against these fanatic terrorists. The civilized world is stating we cannot succumb to these hideous terrorist crimes.

What can business leaders do to cope with a crisis of such magnitude? Consider Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, who throughout the chaos has set an example for every leader to follow. 
He instantly took to the streets, rolled up his sleeves, and walked amongst the police and firefighters- often at the risk of his own safety.  He has truly demonstrated support, caring
and compassion for his people while participating and keeping them informed every step
of the way. He has provided answers to almost every question the press has thrown at him.  Most important, he has not only expressed words of compassion but has offered encouragement and optimism even during the darkest hours.

character is not something you develop in a crisis; it's what you exhibit in a crisis.
At no time in history will leadership skills be needed more than in the days ahead. Business leaders and managers must now take the responsibility to set the tone, be the example for others to follow, and truly lead by example as Mayor Guiliani is doing. They must be sensitive to the range of emotions that people are experiencing and communicate and encourage people that even though we feel we are flying without a net we must grieve and move on.  Expanding our businesses, planting our crops, building our homes, and carrying out our plans in the days, weeks and months ahead will demonstrate to the world that our spirits cannot be broken. 

Those who are not in a leadership position must also display behaviors and communicate
to others in words of unity of purpose and support. A "we're all in this together" attitude
with a sense of camaraderie and mutual support as demonstrated by those police officers
and firefighters who, in my opinion will never receive enough recognition for their heroism
and sacrifice. Their inspiration and spirit will help all of us move forward, but we'll need
positive energy, commitment, fortitude and character to see us through. Remember:
character is not something you develop in a crisis; it's what you exhibit in a crisis. Now's
the time to show others who you are and what you're made of. Show strength in your convictions and couple them with courage.

Coordination and cooperation has been demonstrated with a true team spirit in our
government. Both Republicans and Democrats alike have put their differences aside to
focus on a common goal--to condemn and bring to justice those responsible for these
attacks and put an end to terrorism once and for all.  They've stood behind President
Bush with resounding encouragement and cohesiveness.  You, too, must rally around
your leaders and help carry your organization into a better future.                 

The blow we have suffered has been staggering, but we must gain our balance and triumph
over terrorism. Just as a small bird is shaken from its nest to learn to fly, we've been shaken from our nests, but in the weeks and months ahead, we will learn to fly even higher for we
will be stronger, we will be better, we will be kinder and more compassionate. I encourage
you all, to opt for optimism for this country will be ever so much greater in the very near
future. We already are! 

What can we do as individuals, families, companies, communities and teams to handle

  • Take care of yourself and your family first. Be kinder, more loving, more
    compassionate, and forgiving. Build and heal relationships.  Teach your
    children well, it's the most important job you'll ever have.

  • Help to build a better future for your company. It is your livelihood and they
    need you to perform at your best.  Display initiative beyond your job description. Demonstrate coordination and cooperation with your coworkers and be more
    industrious than ever.

  • Work to build a better community - volunteer, get active, beautify your home,
    and help your neighbor beautify their home.   Building a better community will
    help to build a better state.

  • Be an active voice with state legislators and stand up for what you think is
    right. If we can build a better state, we can build a better country.

  • Love this country or leave it!  Display the flag and be proud. Let's be united as
    one and conquer over the ignorance of those who are against us and our
    American ideals. Holding on to those ideals will help us build a better country.
    If we can build a better country, we can build a better world.

World peace is everyone's business. Together, as Americans united, let's stay strong and commit to taking part in building a better world.

Christine Corelli is a leadership expert who works with business executives, managers and supervisors using creativity and innovation to outdistance their current and future competitors and build winning teams who are customer focused and company loyal.  Christine is the author of "Wake Up and Smell the Competition - They're Closer Than You Think", a business consultant and professional speaker, presenting keynotes and workshops at meetings and conventions around the world.  For information on Christine's speaking and training programs call  352-438-0261 e-mail Christine [email protected]
 or visit www.ExpertSpeaker.com/Speakers/corelli.htm  ExpertMagazine.com 2001

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