Accrediting Managers at Work in the 21st Century






Professor KC Chan 


“When the going gets Tough, the Tough gets going. 

When the weather got Rough, the Titanic got into the sea. 

So, in a Perfect Storm, only the Fittest of the Fittest will survive.” 


Crisis turnaround leadership cannot be developed over-night. It has to be groomed and nurtured over the years through a conscientious effort to transform results-driven leadership to crisis turnaround leadership, i.e. The Ultimate Human Capital. The transition change management needs to pass through three stages of intensive and purposeful development: 

·         Level I Crisis: 

Individual/ organization is publicly embarrassed and mission-critical success is threatened. 

·         Level II Crisis: 

Personal injury, some property loss, possible loss of life, potential for serious damage to the company’s reputation, or a combination of these and other types of adversity. 

·         Level III Crisis: 

Loss of life, significant property damage, a perceived threat to the survival of the company, or a combination of these and other types of adversity. 


The purpose of developing results-driven leadership is to build a pool of talented leaders who can turnaround different types of crisis through to recovery with the minimum amount of cost and pain. The turnaround strategy is to manage the transition from crisis to recovery through transparency in communications, caring and sharing relationships and clarity of values and vision.

Strategy advantage can only be achieved through action advantage. Therefore, it is imperative for the leader to understand ‘Who am I?’ (Self-Awareness), ‘What I know?’ (Self-Development), and ‘What I do?’ (Self-Confidence) to manage the affected people to get the organization out from the crisis. As such, Results-Driven Leadership can only satisfy Level I and Level II types of Crisis. However, for Level III Crisis, the situation demands Integrative Leadership who can only be developed through a conscientious effort to leverage on three types of thinking skills, i.e. Holistic Thinking, Systems Thinking and Critical Thinking. Holistic Thinking for integration of People, Process and Tools; Systems Thinking for implementation of process with effective control; Critical Thinking for innovation, resulting in effective decision making. 

The results-driven and crisis turnaround leader needs to address three key success drivers: 

·         Self-Awareness:     Individual Learning Styles (Activist; Theorist; Pragmatist; Reflector)

·         Self-Alignment:      Team Roles (Thinker-Innovator; Resource Investigator; Coordinator; Shaper; Monitor Evaluator; Team Worker; Implementer; Complete-Finisher; Specialist)

·         Self-Development: Project Leadership (Setting Direction; Aligning People; Motivating and Inspiring; Leading Team; Communicating; Building Relationships; Facilitating Ethical Conduct; Negotiating; Leading Change)


The development of results-driven leadership through to crisis turnaround leadership requires the leader to be exposed to light-weight, medium-weight and heavy-weight projects: 

·         Light-weight:        Test coordination capability. 

·         Medium-weight:   Effective and efficient execution. 

·         Heavy-weight:      Integration capabilities of effective leadership to turnaround a crisis. 

The integrated communication process of managing the transition from crisis to recovery demands minute attention to creating awareness, ensuring alignment, engaging action, encouraging adoption, enabling assurance and envisaging risk throughout the communication cycle. This is to ensure that the transition change management is done with minimum casualties and maximum support. The figure below captures the three barriers to crisis turnaround strategy, i.e. Crisis Denial caused by managerial complacency (e.g. crisis only happens to others), Hidden Crisis as crisis is explained away (e.g. crisis happen, but their impact on our organization is small), Disintegration of Organization because of limited action (e.g. we are so big and powerful that we will be protected from crisis)


To be sure, crisis turnaround leaders are not just transformation leaders or charismatic leaders. They are the Integrative Leaders who require a new blend of learning, un-learning re-learning skills.