Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9/11 The day that changed American Leadership.

Americans and American Leaders changed after the terrorist attacks which occurred on 9/11/01.  To see how national and local leaders experienced that dreadful day, watch: 9/11 - The day that changed the world.  I watched the chilling episode last night.  You have probably heard most of the stories but to see and hear the day through the eyes of the leaders is a moving and useful experience. 

The leadership challenges and choices were extraordinary; the performance of the leaders remarkable.  As it was noted over and over again - it was all new ground - protocol, plans, and systems were overwhelmed by the scale of the attack; leaders had not experienced such a tragic scenario.  Yet - they met the moment with courage, resourcefulness, creativity, and resolve.  They led the nation well that day.

As a student of leadership, one should attempt to understand the moment in which these leaders were thrust.

What did they see?

How did they feel?

How did they make decisions?

How did they gain information?

Who did they rely upon for counsel?

What were the priorities?

What choices saved lives?

How did they solve problems?

How did they work as a team?

How did they handle their roles?

How did they lead - how did they provide purpose, mission, and direction in their new reality?

I was struck by the short amount of time leaders had to make historical choices.  You should watch and imagine how you would handle such a situation.  It will put your daily leadership challenges in proper context.

9/11 - The day that changed the world is airing on the Smithsonian channel.  I think you can view the entire episode if you go to the Smithsonianchannel.com .

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