To Recover from a Crisis, Retell Your Company’s Story

once upon a time


From Harvard Business ReviewHarry Hutson and Martha Johnson discuss the damage to the B&O Railroad Museum and how its director led the community through the crisis by telling the story – what happened and what would follow and included himself in the story.  Harry and Martha praise his efforts and say that during a crisis, a leader must tell a story.  They write:

There are good reasons for this. A crisis requires more from a leader than personal courage, and more from the leadership team than a plan for business continuity. In chaos or calamity, the greatest loss an organization can experience is the loss of meaning. When meaning is disrupted, we feel unsafe, out of control, baffled, or dazed. Without meaning, we don’t trust our ability to understand what is going on or to imagine what could happen next. We need coherence. We need a story.

Neuroscientists, social psychologists, and PTSD therapists all support the importance of narratives in making traumatic events comprehensible. When the future is uncertain, stories told well by trusted leaders convey emotions in a way that unites us, creates room for reason — and bolsters hope.

So tell the truth as if your reputation and your ability to lead depend upon it. They do. And tell it in a way that sounds more like your story — compelling, legitimate, and deeply personal — than someone else’s news report.

Read the full story at To Recover from a Crisis, Retell Your Company’s Story



  • Nathan S. Gibson

    Nathan S. Gibson is an independent worker compliance business partner who provides expertise and creative solutions to enhance workforce flexibility and maintain compliance. He helps mitigate the risks associated with the misclassification of self-employed consultants, freelancers and independent contractors.

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