Chip Shots – From Our Leading Voices

by  Paula Kiger  |  Chip Shots
Chip Shots From Our Leading Voices

Here at Lead Change Group, we know that most problems are most effectively solved when individuals come together to meld ideas, energies, and approaches. To use a golf analogy, not every shot is a long drive.

Many times, leaders have to take a chip shot to move the ball along for a short distance, with incisive accuracy.

In our Leading Voices Chip Shots we’ll be sharing one question to which several of our Leading Voices have contributed a brief thought or reaction. We hope you find them thought-provoking. And without further ado: Fore!

Today’s Question

Crises in organizations sometimes result in the unexpected resignation or termination of the person in charge. For example, the Director of the US Secret Service resigned recently after several adverse incidents. When a leader departs in this manner, he or she leaves behind an organization in crisis that also now finds itself leaderless.

What one piece of advice would you give a management team in the first week after a leader has left under these types of circumstances?

Identify The New Face Of The Organization

Mary Schaefer writes: Identify the new face of the organization immediately and develop relevant, timely messages for them to deliver. One should be relevant to public concerns and one should apply to employee concerns.

Develop a Clear Plan

Mike Henry Sr. counsels: Develop a clear plan and then communicate every step of that plan at every opportunity. By having a clear plan, executing that plan and providing timely, transparent communication, every stakeholder begins to understand that you have the situation under control. This activity communicates urgency and openness and will help restore order more quickly than anything.

Presence, Performance, and Purpose

Jon Mertz explains: Presence, performance, and purpose – these are the necessary focus areas for the remaining management team in times when a leader leaves in crisis. Presenting a calmness is essential as well as being available to answer questions and keep team members focused on the work required.

The management team needs to be fully, proactively present. Their presence requires humility in bringing people together and strength of character in continuing to do what is right for all stakeholders. What stakeholders expect is continued performance. Interruption in service or delivering on commitments will escalate concerns and lead to greater loss than just one individual leaving the organization.

Continued focus on performance is a must. After all, the organization has a purpose greater than just one individual. Purpose takes on an enhanced role in these crisis moments. Keeping all focused on the organization’s purpose will lessen focus on politics and increase focus on what matters most.

Exude Confidence

David Dye shares: In times of crisis, the management team can provide safety and ease the turmoil through calm clarity. Be very clear about what everyone can be doing right now to contribute to the success of the organization. In most cases, this will be to continue doing their daily work in an effective, consistent way. Be clear about what is happening, what is being done to address the situation, and how much you value their contributions.


Karin Hurt urges: Over communicate. In the absence of clear information, people will interpret the situation and seek meaning in their own way. Establish a clear vision for recovery and create a compelling picture for the future.

Have you ever experienced an abrupt change in top leadership for which you had to mobilize a response? What “chip shots” would you add?
Photo Credit: Big Green Pen

About The Author

Articles By paula-kiger
Paula believes her Twitter bio says it best: Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. She is a communications professional who provides writing, editing and social media services through Big Green Pen. She was the community manager for the Lead Change Group for two years. Paula has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Systems from Florida State University. She is an active advocate for many causes.  »  View Profile

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