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The Prepared Leader

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The Prepared Leader

Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient Than Before

Wharton School Press,

15 min. de leitura
9 Ideias Fundamentais
Áudio & Texto

Sobre o que é?

Rather than panicking through crisis after crisis, prepared leaders learn, plan and anticipate.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples


Erika H. James, dean of the Wharton School, and Lynn Perry Wooten, president of Simmons University, focus on the COVID pandemic, a disruptive crisis on a global scale that challenged corporate, social and political leaders in unprecedented ways. Better management of the situation could have meant less suffering, however. Crises are inevitable, so leaders must prepare. The authors, who speak from experience rooted in academia, held history-making roles guiding their institutions during the pandemic. Now, they offer a reference manual for leaders whose futures may well depend on preparation.


Crises build over time and, if not predictable, may be foreseeable.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The upheaval accompanying the virus was evident in public demonstrations, international strains, economic tensions, the “Great Resignation,” and populist and protectionist pressures. The pandemic took an economic toll on businesses and households, closed schools and eroded human capital. The World Bank and the Brookings Institution put a dollar value on the lives lost and economic disruption, but the tally in long term, less examined costs remains unclear.

By March 2020, the time for prevention had passed; only emergency reactions were possible. It did not have to be that way. Epidemiologists had warned of future pandemics as early as the 1980s. In the early 2000s, when SARS traumatized Asia, quarantines, masks, temperature tests, virtual classrooms and hoarding became standard operating procedure in Asian nations. In 2015, Ebola erupted in West Africa causing worldwide fear as one out of two patients died. 

The world’s response was a “cycle of panic, neglect, panic...

About the Authors

Erika H. James is the first woman and first person of color to serve as dean of the Wharton School. Lynn Perry Wooten is the ninth president of Simmons University and its first African American president. Wooten also co-wrote with Susan MacKenty Brady and Janet Foutty the Wall Street Journal bestseller Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership.

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    M. W. 1 year ago
    Lessons here are applicable whatever role you hold, whether in the private sector, public office, community, or social. Thank you for writing it down.