How and why unprepared leaders with a ‘traditional mindset’ can go down in a crisis

GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc. (GMCI), together with the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines in the Philippines (BCCP) and DivinaLaw (DL), joined forces in a virtual webinar on April 27  to reveal how a leader’s  traditional discreet and hands-off approach, when it comes to government relations,  can lead to the fall of their business during a crisis. 

Amor Maclang and Brad Geiser, co-founders of GMCI and Atty. Estrella Elamparo, Senior Partner in DL, discussed the roots and reasons behind this fatal approach---along with solutions and strategies on how to effectively manage a crisis that can lead to sustainability and business success.

Leaders who are afraid of risks

Maclang first broke down the types of leadership that emerge during a crisis:: the 11th hour and the zero hour leader. Both head a business or a corporation. However, the difference lies in their response during a crisis. She said,

"The 11th-hour leader - they are fantastic to work with. They are unafraid to play big, they take bold risks." 

However, it is  the Zero-hour leaders who Maclang wants to address:  the conservatives who are  afraid to take risks. 

Atty. Elamparo shared her experiences through years of service in the different sectors. One of the most important things she mentioned is that "Most litigation fires could have been prevented or the damage minimized if the correct actions had been taken earlier." She highlights that most problems are just minor issues in the beginning. At times, they are called in when the issue has blown out of proportion. She suggested that the only solution is to change the law itself with these kinds of problems.

Geiser placed more emphasis on the difference when it comes to leaders. He presented several cases and situations wherein different CEOs and senior executives handled the crisis, and one baseline problem was present: the interaction between the business and the government. He placed importance on the quality of relationships,  as well as leaders having the ability to recognize threats coming from different sources.

Working with the law

Amor and Elamparo reiterated the different aspects when facing a crisis. However, there is one thing that remains on top: both the law and public affairs must be in sync or aligned. 

As Atty. Elamparo stressed, "If public affairs and legal are not working together, the client will suffer, especially in the middle of a crisis."

Geiser expounded on the preventions and treatments to be taken in the next steps. He places importance on the aptness of taking action on problems, and at the same time, the aggressiveness in making the initiative towards a resolution. He likened the approach to the way cancer should be approached,

"The earlier and more aggressive you are, the faster, and more cost-effective, and the more likely you would have the success you have, just like the way cancer works."

The key takeaway from the discussion is how different kinds of leaders need several tools to face adversity. Most crises, especially involving zero-hour leaders, tend to end in drastic life-changing events. Most are triggered by one singular proponent - and changes in the approach and mindset will have a definite impact on the way businesses would have resolved their problems. Agility is valued, and appropriate interventions in place would create a better resolution.