Crisis leadership: Gov. O’Malley’s 4 questions



The COVID-19 crisis has shown that leaders need proven strategies. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley learned a great deal about crisis management as mayor of Baltimore during the attacks and aftermath of 9/11. In a conversation with Robert Shea, Strategy principal at Grant Thornton, he shares lessons learned.

In any sweeping event, O’Malley said, there are just four questions a leader must answer for the people:

  1. What has happened?
  2. What do you know about it?
  3. What are you doing about it?
  4. What should individuals and government be doing about it?

As for what the leader should be doing, these are three key practices:

  • Establish a unified command to get ahead of the crisis
  • Use maps and measures to build a compelling scoreboard to gauge results of actions
  • Create a battle rhythm to be accountable and collaborative

Watch “Readiness for crisis leadership” to learn more about effective leadership in times of crisis





For more on leadership before and during a crisis, see Crisis management: Lessons from Gov. O’Malley, Crisis strategy: Gov. O’Malley on taking charge and Crisis inspires innovation, per Gov. O’Malley. See “Is the CARES Act enough?” for highlights of the federal response to COVID-19.





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