The Leadership Storm

Bearing the Brunt of the Media Blizzard

media blizzard junoAmex CEO, Kenneth Chenault, says leadership is revealed in crisis. Leadership requires many skills, but crisis separates the wheat from the chaff.

Take the recent blizzard that pummeled New England. Weather forecasters were predicting massive amounts of snow and wind for New York City as well as much of New York State and New England from winter Juno. The Mayor of New York City and the Governor of New York State took actions to safeguard lives, property and economic viability from the storm’s threat.

As it turned out, New York City was spared the brunt of winter storm Juno, but the Governor and the Mayor weren’t so lucky with brunt of the media blizzard ‘WeKnow’. Tough decisions based on consistent weather-model forecasts were thrown into the 86400/604800 (24/7 in seconds) mindless media maw.

Decisions that would have been applauded, if New York City endured what Boston did, are now being second-guessed and derided by people who want us to believe we live in a world of absolutes – decisions made should always be proven to 100% right. If we lived in a world like that, the pundits, back seat drivers and hindsight experts would be jobless.

Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo demonstrate what great leadership is all about – making the best decision possible on the data given and then standing tall in the face of the media blizzard that damns you if you do and damns you if you don’t.

Who can really say what might have happened if different decisions were made? Decisions – most are made in an environment of fifty shades of gray not black and white.