• Lynda Wallace-Hulecki, Ed.D.

Literature of Leadership - You're It: Crisis, Change, And How To Lead When It Matters Most


You're It: Crisis, Change, And How To Lead When It Matters Most. Leonard J. Marcus, Eric J. Mcnulty, Joseph M. Henderson, And Barry C. Dorn. (2019, Kindle Edition).

This is definitely a book for current times! Crisis scenarios come in many forms—pandemics, natural disasters, campus violence, organizational transformation, among others. When crises occur, people look for leaders who can effectively advance an appropriate response. Your It introduces the concept of “meta-leaders”—people who “perceive, engage, connect, and generate influence far beyond their span of formal authority.” Co-written by colleagues from Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, this book provides a practical, research-based foundation for thinking, acting and promoting resilience in the face of crises.

The “you” in “you’re it” refers to both you as an individual and the collective you, referencing the many other people with whom you lead and work on a matter of shared purpose. The meta-leadership framework and practice advanced by the authors consists of three dimensions for developing crisis leadership skills:

  1. The leader (you)—your self-awareness, skills, abilities, strengths, and limitations;

  2. The situation in which you lead—analysis of what is happening and what needs to be done about it; and

  3. Connectivity in the network of stakeholders you lead—understanding patterns of behavior, building collaboration, and fostering connectivity so that everyone can become invested in a shared purpose.

Throughout the 14 short chapters, case vignettes are presented on real world crises to elucidate the art and science of effective (and not so effective) crisis leadership. Strategic concepts and a toolbox of practice methods are provided that are grounded in sound leadership principles. For example:

  • The “POP-DOC Loop“ (Perceive, Orient, Predict; Decide, Operationalize, Communicate) is a method for assessing and navigating complex situations.

  • “Map-Gap-Gives-Gets” is a tool for influencing others and building connectivity.

  • “Walk in the Woods” is an interest-based and collaborative approach to problem-solving.

The authors encourage readers maintain a journal while reading this book for reflection, revelation and inspiration in exploring what meta-leadership means to you. This is a well-written and thought-provoking book with practical insights of use at work and in life.

Image source: Amazon

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