Be the Best – Prepare for the Worst

The thing that keeps you up at night is the crisis you can’t see coming. Successful leaders anticipate, identify, and solve crisis before it’s too late.

Leaders become the best by preparing for the worst.

Where does crisis come from?


The worst:

“Crisis is the result of mistaken assumption,” Derek Lidow, author of, “Startup Leadership.”

8 assumptions that result in crisis:

  1. Working harder will produce better results.
  2. The current team will always be in place.
  3. Financing is stable.
  4. Supply chains will be consistent and reliable.
  5. Our customers will love our new product.
  6. A new program will solve our problem.
  7. Believing you know what the real problem is.
  8. Current knowledge and skill-sets will take you there.

Derek explains the source of crisis (2:01): 


Spot crisis before it’s too late. Dig under the surface of disappointing results.

Leaders tend to pour more energy into making things work rather than asking why they aren’t.

Courageously ask,

  1. What is disappointing?
  2. What isn’t working?
  3. What’s surprising?

If the solution was working harder, many leaders would already be successful. But, hard word doesn’t always work.

Derek on spotting crisis (1:11): 


Big answers aren’t the solution. Neither is burying your head in the sand.

The crisis you’re facing today won’t magically disappear tomorrow.

The absolute best thing you can do is take small steps toward better.

Derek on dealing with crisis (1:07): 

What assumptions result in crisis?

How can leaders deal with crisis?

Derek Lidow teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creativity, Innovation, and Design at Princeton University. He is the author of, “Startup Leadership.” Derek sold his last company in 2010 for over $100 million.