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Leader ReadyCast

Author: Eric J. McNulty

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A monthly podcast featuring real-world lessons, best practices, and action-oriented insights for the “You’re It” moments when you are called to lead. Each concise episode features insights from frontline leaders and the faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
About the Host
Eric J. McNulty is the Associate Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He researches, writes about, and teaches leadership, crisis leadership, conflict resolution, and negotiation in graduate and executive education at Harvard and other institutions. He is a regular speaker at conferences and corporate events. McNulty is co-author of You’re It: The Pivot from Everyday to Crisis Leadership (forthcoming), Renegotiating Healthcare: Resolving Conflict to Build Collaboration, and author of numerous articles. He is a contributing editor to strategy+business magazine and past contributing editor at Harvard Business Publishing. McNulty holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an M.A. in Leadership from Lesley University.

31 Episodes
This episode explores resilience with guest is Shannon Huffman Polson. Huffman Polson has persevered through personal and professional adversity to develop a deep understanding of what it takes to stay strong through turbulence and change. She has climbed mountains, trekked the Artic on a personal journey of grief, and was among the Army’s first Apache attack helicopter pilots. She’s a triathlete and has been a corporate executive. In this interview she shares her insights as well as those of a range of female leaders she interviewed for her latest book, The Grit Factor.
While much of the focus these days is on the corona virus as well as the street protests, those with their eyes open are seeing an increase in cyber threats. And to help us understand what’s going on and what leaders can do about it, Keyaan Williams the founder and managing director of Cyber Leadership and Strategy Solutions, joins us to discuss this issue.
Recognizing cognitive bias and understanding other insights from brain science in order to get smarter than your brain. Michelle and Danielle have used that same underlying science to work with leaders in our homes, schools and communities. Michelle Palladini is a detective and school resource officer for a Massachusetts police department, as well as a yoga and mindfulness teacher. Danielle Peter is a founder and education director of Pathways to Empower.
Michelle is founder of the Neighborhood Admins Resilience Network, a network of hyper-local Facebook Groups supporting community preparedness, response, and resilience. Michelle discusses the challenges and opportunities of “bottom up” leadership during the COVID-19 response.
Juliette shares with us just-in-time COVID-19 leadership lessons.
Suzanne shares with us the stories she has been collecting for several years of disaster heroes around the country.
The world is in the midst of a highly volatile situation with a Corona outbreak. Each day brings a new twist in the story as a leader. What does it take to communicate effectively right now? Gilman speaks with us about the four Fs principles to communicate in a crisis like this.
Sports venues are a truly complex environment in which to lead. You have a league and owners with a business to run. They want things to be safe but not through an obtrusive security presence that might seem unwelcoming to fans. Fans want to see a game and expect to roam freely about the stadium. Players are high-profile individuals; there are always VIPs in the house; and of course, you have a heavy media presence.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. When leading, particularly in the midst of crisis, your decisions are often how you are judged. You rarely have all of the information or time you’d like. Yet, when “you’re it,” you must decide. Given the importance of the ability to make decisions is to effectiveness when leading, it is odd that so few people are formally trained in the art and science of making the best possible decision in whatever circumstances you happen to find yourself.
Communicating well is a core competency for anyone leading others. You may be called upon to set direction, provide feedback, clarify a situation, or any of a hundred other challenges. Your ability to understand the communications need and fulfill it effectively may spell the difference between your success and failure.
Much of the attention around disaster leadership goes to response. However, a lot of what happens in response is shaped by the policy choices in mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. Alice Hill, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution where she focuses on potentially catastrophic global events such as climate change, speaks with us about leading from a policy standpoint.
The goal is laudable: save lives. And this is National Preparedness Month. In this episode we discuss the Stop the Bleed and other efforts to put tourniquets in the hands of the general public. Recent research, however, shows that it isn’t as easy as putting kits on the wall in public spaces. Training matters.
How do you work with the media in a crisis? This is one aspect that continually vexes practitioners. Lisa Hughes is part of WBZ-TV’s team coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and was on the media bridge at the time of the explosions. She was one of the first journalists reporting from the scene and has covered just about every major news event in Boston over the past 19 years. Take a listen to what she has to say.
The spectacular July 4th Celebration with the Boston Pops is a tradition that began with Arthur Fiedler in 1929, and the greater Boston area has used events such as this as opportunities to train and learn. The high profile event draws crowds that swell to about a half-million people on the Charles River Esplanade with celebrants aligning parks and neighborhoods along both sides of the river. So how does the city and the MSP plan and prepare to keep everyone safe?



Today, in an instant, leaders can find themselves face-to-face with crisis. An active shooter. A media controversy. A data breach. This book takes you to the front lines of some of the toughest decisions facing our nations leaders. Leonard Marcus, founding Co-Director and Eric McNulty, Associate Director of the NPLI and two of the four authors, discuss the book, its’ fifteen years of research, and the pragmatic model and methods of Meta-Leadership.
Building a powerful culture on your team and in your organization can be tough, particularly in large institutions such as government agencies and legacy corporations. Yet there are steps that anyone can take that can make an enormous difference. Chief talent officer, Patty McCord at Netflix helped create the Netflix Culture Deck that has been viewed online more than 15 million times.
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