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New York, NY (Sep. 30, 2018) – The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis by Helio Fred Garcia is now available as an audio book, narrated by Andy Waits. Earlier this year, The Agony of Decision was named # 2 on the list of the “51 Best Crisis Management Books of All Time” by Book Authority, the leading resource for nonfiction book recommendations.

“I’m pleased that The Agony of Decision is now available as an audiobook,” said Garcia. “I hope that, through this new format, more readers will be inspired to develop the mental readiness required to think clearly, make smart choices, and execute those choices effectively during a crisis.”

The Agony of Decision was published in 2017, the first book published under the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press imprint. It is also the first book in the Logos Institute Best Practices Series.

The audiobook edition of The Agony of Decision is available on all the leading audiobook platforms. You can find it on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

New York, NY (Nov. 17, 2017) – On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership honored America’s Crisis Guru ®, James E. Lukaszewski with the inaugural Outstanding Leader Award. That evening, nearly 50 communication industry professionals came together to celebrate Lukaszewski’s storied career and contributions to the field.

The Outstanding Leader Award recognizes established industry professionals for their consequential professional achievements that set the aspirational standard for others, and the recipient’s excellence in the use of strategic communication to achieve professional or business objectives with substantial and positive results. Recipients also possess the impressive ability to inspire and empower others through their status as role models, trusted advisors, and visionaries.

 

“When considering who to honor with our inaugural Outstanding Leader Award, Jim was our immediate first thought,” said Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting Group. “Jim has not only set a high standard through his decades of leadership as America’s Crisis Guru, but his scholarship and mentorship of others, including myself, has made a lasting impact on field.”

For more than four decades, Lukaszewski has helped senior leaders facing crisis get through challenges with focus, ethics, and decisive action. President and Chairman of the Board of The Lukaszewski Group Inc., Lukaszewski is a highly regarded leader in crisis management and strategic communication. In addition to advising to those “at the top,” Lukaszewski has also dedicated much of his career to sharing his wisdom and time with students and young professionals only starting their careers. With 13 books and hundreds of articles and monographs authored, his mentorship and leadership influence have easily touched thousands.

“I want to have an important, constructive impact on the lives of people and organizations I help. My ultimate goal in working with other PR professionals or staff members is to help them learn to have happier, successful, and more important and influential lives,” said Lukaszewski. “I’m honored these efforts are recognized by Logos.”

Logos Consulting Group president Helio Fred Garcia was quoted in a Bloomberg View article on whether it’s ever a good idea for leaders to publicly shame or humiliate their employees.

The article, by Hofstra University professor Kara Alaimo, focused on recent public statements by president Donald J. Trump, including his criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

(Kara Alaimo)

She also focused on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who publicly blamed his employees for the misconduct that occurred on his watch, and also Volkswagen America CEO Michael Horn, who blamed the company’s software cheating scandal on “a couple of software engineers.”

She said,

“Attacking employees also tends to backfire internally, according to Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting Group. ‘Ineffective leaders publicly call out or humiliate their people, either in the workplace or in more public settings,’ he says. ‘This predictably causes all employees to lose confidence and trust in the boss. Especially when the public criticism seems arbitrary, petty or ad hominem, other employees will cringe and feel personally at risk.’”

She continued,

“As a result, he says, employees will be less loyal. This can hurt their productivity and lead them to act out — for example, by leaking information to the press. Overall, Garcia says, attacking employees creates a ‘culture of backstabbing and chaos.’ We’ve seen such chaos in the White House, with the abrupt departures of press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus and communications director Anthony Scaramucci — all in a 10-day period.

Kara Alaimo is an assistant professor of public relations at Hofstra University and also teaches in the PR and Corporate Communication graduate program at New York University. She previously was a spokesperson for international affairs in the U.S. Department of Treasury and also held senior communication positions at the United Nations. She is the author of Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication.

Helio Fred Garcia is the author of The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis. In that book he discusses the need for leaders to exhibit humility:

“Emotional discipline requires humility – so that the leader can understand what matters to others. A dollop of humility tempers other attributes, and makes a leader even stronger. Humility helps a leader to recognize that maybe – just maybe – he or she might be wrong; that there may be other valid perspectives; that he or she doesn’t have to be the smartest person in every room, at every meeting.” This kind of humility would prevent a leader from publicly shaming an employee.

New York, NY (May 22nd, 2017) – On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership presented the inaugural Rising Leader Award to Carolina Perez Sanz.

The Rising Leader Award honors new professionals, recent graduates, and students for their extraordinary leadership potential and demonstration of excellence in their work that offers meaningful contributions to the strategic communication profession.

“I’m very proud of this accomplishment,” said Sanz, “I thank Logos for giving me this honor. And I thank Fred; my capstone would have not turned this good without his help.”

Sanz is a recent graduate from the M.S. program in public relations and corporate communication at New York University, where she wrote her final capstone, advised by Logos Institute president Helio Fred Garcia, on how women in male-dominated professions can become leaders and inspire trust more effectively.

Sanz also completed a PhD in applied linguistics at Instituto Universitario de Investigación Ortega y Gasset in Spain. For her PhD, she did extensive research into how female broadcasters use their voices when performing on the air. She is also a certified speech therapist, and writes her own blog, Power at Speech, on how voice and speech influence the perception of public figures’ personalities. Carolina is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she teaches public speaking.


  • Women and Leadership: Since 2007, McKinsey has produced an annual report on the state of women and leadership, and the latest report came out last week. This year’s “Women Matter” found, “Today, women remain underrepresented on corporate boards and executive committees.” The report details the business case for gender diversity in senior executive positions, how top companies are achieving greater gender diversity, and how others can implement programs to continue to advance the role of women in senior management.
  • Viral Videos: Interesting research on what makes “ads go viral” and more likely for people to watch, from Harvard Business Review. (Full article via registration or subscription, but the embedded video in the article is equally worth watching.)
  • Invisible Children/Kony 2012 Sequel: Speaking of viral, Invisible Children last week released a follow-up video to the original Kony 2012 video, which since its release became the most viral video to date. The sequel addresses many of the criticisms leveled at the organization and the campaign.
  • Remembering Mike Wallace: Many reflections about legendary reporter Mike Wallace, who died this weekend at the age of 93, including from CBS News & Morley Safer, and the New York Times.
  • Facebook: When we last left off, there was significant discussion of employers asking for access to employees’ Facebook pages. The House rejected proposed legislation there that would have taken up the matter, but other measures are still underway.
  • McDonald’s and Social Media: The director of social media at McDonald’s, Rick Wion, did an interview recently and talked about how they’ve responded to critics hijacking their hashtags on Twitter, and their broader strategy for various kinds of engagement on the network.

 

Teachable moments in communication arrive in many forms.

Take 2 minutes and 8 seconds to witness an act of elegance and meaning.

Start Asking from Ryan Fitzgibbon on Vimeo.

Ryan Fitzgibbon designed the video you just watched to comment on the United States’ progress on civil rights.  I found it during some random Twitter-surfing, and when I first saw it, I said, “Wow! This really speaks to me.” Here’s what resonated: Fitzgibbon took the opportunity to be a provocateur, but in the best way possible. His language and images are spare, but he moves through the difficult issue of prejudice with great sensitivity and impact.

The video succeeds for me because its creator employs most of what I will call the 10 Rules of Communication Elegance:

Rule 1. Aim for elegance. Before you even begin to share your ideas, unpack half of that suitcase of information you’ve brought for the occasion. Make better use of your nucleus of ideas by stripping them down to basics. Yes, simplicity is a baseline requirement for communication. But elegance is even more focused and strategic: it informs simplicity. It not only transmits, it inspires. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you how.

Application: Fitzgibbon packs so much punch in a very short period of time – about the length of a television commercial break. There is no excess information. He pushes us to begin being more tolerant today just by questioning ourselves. He doesn’t download all his knowledge about prejudice and discrimination. He just gives us the stripped-down essentials for immediate action. I found myself asking the questions the video presented.

Rule 2. Punctuate your communications with meaning. Inspiration doesn’t automatically follow the expression of ideas. Inspire others with an act of meaning. That’s how I’m defining elegance: it is simplicity plus meaning. Minds differ on what meaning is, but, for me, it’s working toward a shared good. It’s sharing what I have and what I know to help empower others.

Application: Eliminating prejudice and discrimination is an undeniable collective good. In his video, Fitzgibbon draws us in with an urgent problem and then gives us an immediate tool to deal with it. That call to action is meaningful and gives his communication resonance.

Rule 3. Lead with the dynamic duo–your energy and emotion. The duo also goes by the name passion, and the literature on leadership and public speaking overflows with discussions about it. But the truth remains: With passion, you will connect to others. It is perfectly fine to communicate with structure, strategy and intentionality, but let your energy and emotion seek some entropy, and others will want to follow right along with you.

Application: This video bristles with emotion.  All the usual visual clutter of life has been removed, and we are only able to zoom in on the closed eyes and facial expressions of the people we see. The unsteady camera seems to twitch along with the muscles of the narrators. We may not see into their souls, but we hear the emotion in their voices, we feel the clinched discomfort in their body language, and we sense the urgency of what they are asking. That urgency is contagious.

Rule 4. Develop an authentic point of view and express it in your own way and on your own terms. Your authenticity will influence others to be led by you. Don’t try to be a cover version of someone else. Discussions of authenticity also abound in the literature. Never mind that. Being authentic means being natural, having integrity and always striving to express your best self. It is a fundamental building block of credibility.

Application: Fitzgibbons allows the authenticity of the people in his video to speak directly to us. Through their words and body language, we begin to understand the pain of exclusion and misunderstanding. We believe them.

Rule 5. Mix in some surprise. Surprise scrambles the brain’s thought sequencers temporarily and then facilitates a higher level of learning. It forces people to think of something in a different way. Use some surprise at the beginning of your narrative, and the results may surprise you.

Application: Fitzgibbon’s video does the unexpected. It does not pontificate on a subject that has inspired much pontification. There is no lecture on prejudice before the call to action. There is merely a stream of thought-provoking questions. While they may not be entirely surprising, they are certainly disarming. Fitzgibbon also orchestrates a sense of mystery. Throughout the video, we wonder what our questioners will do next. We wonder when they will open their eyes. What will the great reveal be? Will our eyes open along with theirs?

Rule 6. Add visuals. They provide a concrete picture to which people can relate. They point to a specific example. And images drive learning.

Application: Do we really need to discuss this one? The video has impact because of its spare and stunning visuals.

Rule 7. Tell a story. By all means, make it personal. Real-life vignettes or detailed case studies take statements out of the abstract and ground them with concreteness. Never underestimate the power of storytelling.

Application: Fitzgibbons shows us that meaningful stories don’t have to be long. They just have to be personally compelling.

Rule 8. Signal your critical points of information with numbers. Think “three key takeaways,” “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and “5 Ways Social Media Can Drive More People to Your Website.” These countable items provide your listeners and viewers with a road map for what comes next. They’ll want to go with you if you let them know where they are going.

Application: So, we see our filmmaker didn’t use this one. Well, I did say he used most of the rules.

Rule 9. Repeat your critical points with nuance. Repetition drives learning, but rote iteration isn’t what I mean. Don’t just repeat. Build on the points you’ve already made. When revisiting key ideas, be sure to add texture, shading and nuance.

Application: Fitzgibbon builds his entire video by repeating his theme. With each new person we see we get a new frame of reference. We are able to see how prejudice is personal in different ways for different people.

Rule 10. The rules provide valuable fundamentals but they do not guarantee success. Applying the rules will make you a good technician. Using them will make you more persuasive. But, you can only become an artisan by repeatedly putting them into practice. Never leave homebase without Rules 1 through 4. And, then, learning how to use Rules 5 through 9 judiciously will take you farther along the path of becoming an elegant communicator.

Application: Obviously, Fitzgibbons has practiced his craft. We thank him for being so elegant in this teachable moment.

Click here for more info about Ryan Fitzgibbon and the making of the video.