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Trauma to Triumph

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Trauma to Triumph

A Roadmap for Leading Through Disruption (and Thriving on the Other Side)

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You can’t underestimate trauma’s damaging effects on your organization, but here’s how to cope.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples


COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges for business leaders. While trying to understand the latest information, they had to keep their companies afloat, help frightened employees and maintain order. Often, the pandemic promoted empathy and cooperation, but authors Dr. Mark Goulston and Dr. Diana Hendel detail how it also exposed inadequate disaster planning. They explain how a comprehensive, thoughtful strategy to handle crises can improve your readiness and ensure organizational stability. They warn that trauma is far more serious than normal stress and that people vastly underestimate its effects on a company, but there are productive steps you can take.


Never underestimate trauma’s impact on your organization.

During a crisis, people experience much more than ordinary workplace stress. Coping successfully with a traumatic event in your organization requires genuinely acknowledging this fact. Failing to address a trauma’s full impact causes extreme harm to your company.

Most people handle everyday stress without feeling that they’ve lost control. But trauma destroys your sense of well-being and alters your view of the world. Trauma is often a startling, isolated incident, but roughly 70% of the people in the United States will experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime.

Traumatic circumstances can be chronic and more subtle, such as sexual harassment or racism. People may not recognize the effects of a trauma that persists over a period of time instead of stemming from a single incident, but trauma in any form is devastating. 

COVID-19 dropped leaders into uncharted territory. In the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, they scrambled to gather information, organize a response and protect employees. Many leaders reacted...

About the Authors

Author and board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Mark Goulston is a former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer. Diana Hendel, PharmD, is a former hospital CEO and a leadership coach and consultant.

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