May 5, 2020
NOTE: This episode was accelerated and is being
promoted out of order because of the timely discussion on pandemics
that Jim and Jan recently had with Lisa Monaco, an expert in this
area. We will return
to our normal schedule (episode 195 next week).
Lisa Monaco served as the Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism Advisor to President Barack Obama from 2013-2017.
In this role, she coordinated the federal government’s crisis
management and response to cyberattacks, pandemics, and terrorist
threats. She also spent 15 years at the Department of Justice,
serving as a career federal prosecutor, and in senior management
positions including at the FBI. It was there where she was Chief of
Staff to the Director, and helped lead the FBI’s post-9/11
transformation. Lisa discusses how to lead during a crisis, and
ways to create a readiness plan for potential threats; pandemic or
[3:35] The role of ‘duty’ in
business: A true test of a leader is whether they can put the
organization’s role ahead of their own personal views, interests,
and what’s safe.
[5:25] Leaders can know when
they’re on the right track by checking their inner compass and
understanding their gut intuition.
[8:55] Lisa spent every day in
the situation room when she was the Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism Advisor to the President. She found that the best
decisions that came out of that room were when they had an
inclusive process and having multiple different voices in the room
to express their facts and opinions.
[10:55] The best leaders have
built their credibility and trust long before they’ve needed to use
[11:45] Lisa puts the complex
Taliban/Afghanistan peace treaty into perspective. This is only the
beginning of the process to end the war.
[19:40] What keeps Lisa up at
night? Pandemic diseases. As businesses are facing repercussions
from the coronavirus, Lisa reminds us that we have to think about
resilience and to always have a readiness plan for potential
[22:55] Communication and
preparation are the two main ingredients to survive unforeseeable
[24:55] A leader needs to shift
through the opinion pieces and be the person that delivers reliable
information that the team can trust.
[29:25] CEOs are so focused on
being busy that they’re not looking to the future. Instead of
planning for March or April 2020, you should be planning for March
[30:10] The tone and pace of an
organization come from the top.
[31:40] When Lisa worked for the
President, every day there was a crisis happening. She was able to
manage the stress by having an amazing team and having a repeatable
process to gather information and assess the importance of
[37:25] Throughout Lisa’s
career, she has been surrounded by amazing leaders.
[37:55] A moment that stood out
was during the tragedy that happened at Mother Emanuel African
Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It cost
the lives of nine people. Lisa personally saw how President Barack
Obama demonstrated a whole range of leadership skills in just one
[42:30] Try to live every day as
a custodian of the institution that you’re leading. Do not focus as
much on the individual needs and desires of the daily
- “One of the things
that make for an effective president is they
realize their job is not about being busy, it’s about slowing
- “Panic ensues when people don’t have information or
don’t believe they’re getting enough clear
- “The best leaders have really built up and honed their ability
to be effective in that moment well before the moment
- “If the
leader has built credibility as somebody who doesn’t shade, who
doesn’t put spin on the ball, then they’re going to be able to
deliver that uncomfortable, or perhaps, unwelcomed, but truthful
message in that moment.”
should not lose sight of the fact that those servicemen’s and
women’s sacrifices are ongoing every day as we go about our daily
- “We have
to think about resilience across all these types of threats,
whether it’s terrorism, cyber-attacks, or pandemic
- “Are you
being clear? Are you being candid about what you know and what you
don’t know, and are you being regular in that
are best when they really listen to their inner
Resources and Books Mentioned
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