August 2018 Edition: Executive Action: Urgent Information for Leaders and their Trusted Strategic Advisors Will leaders in crisis ever learn

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August 2018 Edition: Executive Action: Urgent Information for Leaders and their Trusted Strategic Advisors

Will leaders in crisis ever learn?

One of the most frequent questions I get as I speak, teach and counsel is, will the people who run organizations who get into trouble ever learn how to avoid that trouble? My answer, if history is any indicator, is likely no.

Instead, we have to be smart about understanding the pathology of leadership error that leads to problems we’ve seen before that get repeated over and over. I use the word pathology on purpose because it’s a term from medicine that describes understanding the origins of diseases. Understanding leadership error is more helpfully accomplished if we think about it as a pathology rather than just a plain checklist of concepts.

I’ve identified a progression of 12 largely self-inflicted Leadership Crisis Responses Failure Behaviors (LCRFBs). It’s this sequence of behaviors that overpowers, preoccupies and thereby prevents prompt responsive and perfected reactions in crisis, allowing more victims to be created and fewer victims, if any that need to be helped.

The Twelve LCRFBs are:
1. Surprise
2. Disbelief
3. Betrayal
4. Silence
5. Stalling
6. Denial
7. Victim Confusion
8. Testosterosis
9. Arrogance
10. Search for the Guilty
11. Fear of the Media
12. Whining


Also, on This Month’s Docket:

1). Famous Last Words – Rat Counts: A metaphor for our age.

2). The Pathology of Leadership Error in Crisis – Twelve leadership crisis response failure behaviors.

3). People Are Talking – Nice testimonials from clients, friends and disciples (perhaps like you).

4). Jim’s Wisdom – Maybe you should be using Federal Sentencing Guidelines as your incentive to prove ethical performance. Knowing how, when, and how long you’ll be behind bars is probably a better motivator to stay out of jail than your present ethics program.

5). Meet America’s Most Magical University – A visit to Minnesota’s Metropolitan State University. Maybe you should have gone to college here. You still can, and so can your children.

See you in September,


James E. Lukaszewski
ABC, Fellow IABC; APR, Fellow PRSA; BEPS Emeritus
America's Crisis Guru®
The Lukaszewski Group
Email: | Web: | Phone/Text: 203-948-7029


Famous Last Words


In this case, a metaphor for today.

“Rodent complaints are not an accurate indicator of the rat population in an area,” said the Chicago Streets and Sanitation spokeswoman after the city was named rat capital of America. The reason being so much garbage everywhere.

Originally published in USA Today on July 23, 2018, selected by Merrie Spaeth’s monthly newsletter, the BIMBO Memo, and it’s Bimbo winner of the month for July.

To subscribe to the monthly BIMBO memo contact Merri Spaeth at


The Pathology of Leadership Error in Crisis

Self-Inflicted Leadership Crisis Response Failure Behaviors (LCRFBs)


1. Surprise: Stems from the U.S. management culture developed over the last 40 years which stresses the invincibility of managers and leaders based on extensive monitoring and data collection to the exclusion of many traditional (historic?) management beliefs, actions, concerns and functions. Today’s prevailing attitude is that smart managers are unlikely to suffer a crisis.

The unintended consequence of this delusion is that much necessary readiness activity never takes place.

Part of the surprise crisis always brings is related to the almost immediate realization by these smart leaders that readiness has suffered in an environment of management omnipotence and over optimism about inherent response capabilities.

The lesson: The smarter they are the harder and faster they fall.

The outcome is: The refusal to believe that things are serious, i.e. not wanting to look too concerned in the eyes and gossip of peers.

Copy of Lukas News

"I’d like you to know that I think I have my issues resolved at work and we’re at least at a cease fire. I will save you the time and say that while it’s been painful, it’s been a tremendous learning experience. I’m confident it will end up a positive for both parties. No matter the case, your advice and good sense was instrumental to my navigating the treacherous tide."

-From one of my younger female up and comers navigating out of a tough spot


"Greetings. I attended your seminar [last year] and I am a devoted reader of your book and newsletter. Many thanks for the wisdom, it works."

-From one of my seminar attendees at last year’s San Jose, CA IEEE Women In Engineering Conference (WIE).


Jim's Wisdom


(Actually Walter Pavlo’s Wisdom for this month)

Business Schools Should Stop Teaching Ethics and Start Teaching Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG)

"I have spoken with hundreds of people who have a term of federal prison in their future as a result of their involvement in a white collar crime and not one of them had ever heard of, prior to their indictment, the FSG…not one. They quickly became experts when considering their fate, but the guidelines were never a consideration when they entered into the act that got them into trouble."

-Walter Pavlo, Fellow Prosecutor, Contributor to FORBES, June 25, 2018

"I have done more than 50 criminal cases as an investigator,” says Antonio Vaccaro, an associate professor of business ethics at IESE Business School. “Every time, the problem is not compliance, it is organizational values. If you have an organization that is healthy and a bad apple arrives, he or she is recognized, re-educated or expelled."

-Ethikos Weekly News, August 7, 2018


Meet America’s Most Magical University

Metro U

Looking to Transform Your Life? Or, help creating a new life for yourself? Want to get better where you already work? Or, need college credit for things you learned in life? Need to jumpstart your college education, again, close to home? Reached the point where you need a college degree but have a family, a couple jobs and it seems impossible?

Minnesota has just such a remarkable even magical place to help rejuvenate your life: Minnesota Metropolitan State University.


2018 Upcoming Appearances


September 20, 2018: IABC Fellows 2018 Zoomcasts with Jim Lukaszewski participating: Episode 37 / Noon EST - Blending And Reshaping Internal And External Communication

October 7-9, 2018: PRSA ICON Conference: Panelist. Austin, TX. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

November 11-13, 2018 – IABC Heritage Region Conference: Keynote Speaker. Richmond, VA. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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