Tag Archive for: Logos

Friends,

I founded Logos Consulting Group twenty years ago – in September 2002. I was 45 years old. My kids were 11 and 7.

Looking back, the Fall of 2002 was quite a time to take such a leap. It was a time of turmoil. In New York City. In the nation. In the world.

2002 Turmoil

The 9/11 attacks, just one year earlier, had shattered the nation’s sense of security. The United States military had gone into Afghanistan soon after the attack, where it would remain for 20 years. Excavation of the World Trade Center site was completed in May, but the smell of death and a sense of sadness continued to linger in the city.

By September 2002, President George W. Bush and his senior advisors were banging the drum about the need to invade Iraq. They lied to the American people. They conflated the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, with Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. They warned that the next smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud, claiming falsely that Iraq had a nuclear capability and the desire to use it against the U.S.

Massive protests against invading Iraq began in September and continued for months. On one day alone, February 15, 2003, fully half a million people marched in protest in New York City; 15 million people protested that day in 800 cities around the world. At the United Nations some of our closest allies argued strenuously that it would be a mistake to invade Iraq. When the French foreign minister suggested at the United Nations that the U.S. was behaving impulsively, and the Security Council declined to pass an authorization to go to war, the Administration attacked France. President Bush said that our purported allies were either “for us or against us.” It turned petty: the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria stopped calling its fried potatoes “French fries” and instead referred to them as “Freedom fries.” And the United States – with allies whom it called “the coalition of the willing” – invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The nation was also still in the midst of a severe recession triggered by the 2000 collapse of the dot-com bubble. Irrational exuberance had pumped up the stock of new tech companies that had yet to make a profit. Then a crash lost nearly 50 percent of the stock market’s value.

A series of corporate scandals had also shaken Americans’ confidence in corporate leadership. Enron, Arthur Andersen, Adelphia, WorldCom, and many others were caught committing massive fraud and dishonesty. Arthur Anderson was prosecuted and went out of business. Executives of other companies went to prison. Congress passed the Corporate Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, commonly known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Logos 

It was into this environment that I founded Logos: with no clients, no employees, and estranged from my employer of 12 years and mentor of 17 years. But with a sense of purpose. With a mission to help people become leaders who can ignite and inspire change in the world for the better.

Within four days we got our first client: A major commodities exchange whose CEO needed coaching. Then an UN-affiliated peacebuilding organization. Then a data services company being investigated by the SEC – our first crisis client, and for the first year our largest one. Then a prominent life sciences company. Then a large insurance company. Then a giant investment bank. By January 2003, we were a real firm. Before we moved into our first office space in 2007, we joked that my kitchen table was Logos Consulting Group’s World Headquarters. Two gifted colleagues joined the firm and helped to establish Logos as a credible advisor to senior leaders when the stakes are high.

In the 20 years since, we’ve benefitted from the gifts of many other people who came to and through Logos. We’ve worked for more than 300 clients – including some of the biggest and best-known companies and organizations in the world. Some have remained our clients for all this time. And we’ve been on the ground in dozens of countries.

Two years after we were founded, we created the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, our think tank, executive education, and publishing arm. We’ve written books that have been published in three languages. After 15 years, we established the Logos Institute Press to publish other authors’ leadership books. We’ve taught at prominent universities and professional schools on three continents. And in 2021 we launched the Logos Learning Center to provide online training to individuals looking to bolster their leadership skills.

Continued Turmoil

About ten years ago we noticed a troubling trend and warned clients about it: an outbreak of incivility in society at large that we worried would spill into our clients’ workplaces and interfere with their business operations.

We saw that trend get worse in 2015 as political leaders dehumanized and demonized groups and rivals with deadly consequence. The FBI warned of a surge of opportunistic violence and hate crimes against targeted groups. The violence then metastasized into organized acts of terrorism. In June 2020, I published a book warning about this trend and its likely escalation.

Six months later, we saw a violent attack on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election.

Also in mid-2020, as the world grappled with an emerging pandemic, the United States government violated its own public health guidelines and politicized the pandemic response. A combination of incompetence, dishonesty, and neglect led to the worst pandemic response in the industrialized world, and to the preventable deaths of more than three quarters of a million Americans. And to death threats and acts of violence against public health experts and political leaders who counseled good public health practices. My next book is about this massive failure of leadership, which I call the single worst-handled crisis in American history.

2022 Turmoil

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called misinformation the nation’s leading cause of death. It noted that the surge of misinformation about the pandemic, masks, and vaccines led to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths, especially among the unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.

And the world was thrown into turmoil earlier this year when Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine, and the world responded with the strictest economic sanctions against Russia. This led to a spike in oil prices and food shortages in much of the world. And now Russia itself is in turmoil as citizens resist the draft requiring them to fight in what Russia still refuses to call a war.

We see turmoil also in Iran, as citizens, especially women, take to the streets to protest the killing in police custody of a female Iranian citizen arrested for improperly wearing a hijab.

And in the United States the political divide has intensified further. The divide has been fueled by the Big Lie about the 2020 election, the embrace of conspiracy theories, and calls for violence if the former president – now facing an array of legal troubles – should be indicted.

Onward

And so, Logos begins our twenty-first year as we did our first, navigating through the turmoil. And helping our clients do the same. We are gratified that when the stakes are high clients turn to us.

Now more than ever society needs leaders equipped to inspire, to ignite people to overcome the turmoil, to push back against misinformation, and to build stronger organizations.

Now more than ever leaders know the consequences of poorly handled crises, and that there is a rigor to responding effectively and quickly in a crisis.

Now more than ever there is need to exercise leadership well. The stakes are that high.

Thank you for your confidence in Logos Consulting Group through the last 20 years. And thank you for your continued encouragement and support.

 

This is reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organization navigating through the challenges we see today.

On February 8, 2021, Helio Fred Garcia spoke with Bill Sherman on his podcast, Leveraging Thought Leadership. During their conversation, Garcia described some of the drivers for trust in the crisis, how he fell into thought leadership, how translates complex ideas for a common understanding, the influence of philosophy on his life and career, and his advice on how people can become thought leaders.

Listen to the full exchange below:

Logos President Helio Fred Garcia was quoted in Carol Roth’s Business Unplugged blog on his 2021 New Year’s business resolution. In this post, Roth highlights the business resolutions of more than 100 leaders from across industries for the new year.

For Garcia, his 2021 business resolution was the expansion of our business model and the creation of the Logos Learning Center.

“Covid-19 forced me to reimagine my business model. Previously, we relied on in-person interactions with clients and word-of-mouth advertising. After serious thought and research, I’ve resolved in 2021 to create a new online business platform to expand our offerings to a wider base of people,” Garcia explained. “Our new Logos Learning Center will provide interactive workshops on a variety of leadership skills to help people at any stage of their professional journey enhance their leadership capacity.”

Read the full article here.

Learn more about the Logos Learning Center here.

On November 9, 2020, Logos President Helio Fred Garcia spoke with on his podcast, Ethical Voices, about when and where to draw the ethical line. The podcast was released on the second anniversary of Ethical Voices.

During their conversation, Garcia discussed how structures and clear protocols make courage less necessary in ethical dilemmas, what can we learn from Bernays’ definition of public relations, and three key elements in determining the “right” thing to do.

Garcia noted, “From a communication ethics point of view, what I teach my students is to ask, “What is the outcome we seek?” Not the process, but the outcome. Then ask what are the options available to you that could get you closer or farther from that outcome? And then which choice is the less bad choice? Because when you face a moral dilemma or an ethical dilemma, you’re going to make a choice that still violates some principle. What is the less bad choice that gets you closer or at least, least far from that desired outcome? You need the discipline to make the choices based on the outcome and not based on the short-term strains that put you in that situation… The more we can make decisions based on desired outcomes and using agreed upon standards as the way to calibrate whether we’re likely to get to that desired outcome, we’re more likely to live to fight another day.”

Listen to the full conversation here:

Read the full transcript here.

This past Friday marked the 18th anniversary of Logos Consulting Group. On this anniversary, I am excited to share with you not only where the firm has been, but also where we are going.

We were founded in 2002 during a recession (granted, not as dire as now). We started without a single client, but with a goal to truly partner with our clients to help them succeed. Slowly but surely, we were able to attract new clients into the firm and recruit a talented team of professionals with a variety of life, educational, and professional experiences.

Eighteen years later, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients and thousands of leaders and communicators in dozens of countries. We have taught in dozens of universities across six continents. And we have also harnessed our professional skills to help causes we care about do their work better.

I am extremely proud of the work we have done and of all the relationships we have built with our clients. We are a small firm, so every relationship is incredibly important to us. I want to thank you, our clients, for all of the ways you have shaped and grown Logos over the years. The work you all do in the world is vitally important and we are so proud to be able to partner with you on your journey – whether we were there for you in crisis, helped you prepare for a high-stakes event, or coached you on how to be a more persuasive communicator, or a combination of all three. We are thankful you trust us with your time and your people.

Just as so many other organizations in the past year, we at Logos have felt the economic impacts of COVID-19. This pandemic, in addition to all the suffering it has caused around the world has fundamentally changed the climate in which our work is done.

At Logos, we know only too well that in every crisis there is an opportunity. And we have seized on the opportunity before us to think differently about who we are as a firm and how we want to serve our clients, our colleagues, and the world.

Over the past several months, we as a firm have reflected on who we are today and re-committed ourselves to our core values. We are also actively re-imagining our business model in a COVID-19 world. This re-visioning of Logos began with reminding ourselves of why we started this journey to begin with, and who we want to be for the next 18 years.

After much reflection, I am proud to share Logos’ vision and mission:

In many ways, this newly articulated vision and mission reflect the work we have done all along over the past 18 years, and why everyone on the Logos team comes to work every day excited to serve our clients. However, grounded in our vision and mission, we are excited for the possibilities that lie ahead. We are both focused and flexible in re-imagining ways to fulfill our mission to equip people to be leaders who ignite change.

We will soon be announcing several exciting new initiatives to help us do this. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, I know that this has been a difficult year, for us all facing this new reality around the world. And the difficult work is not yet over. But, to paraphrase one of my heroes, we are not at the end, nor even at the beginning of the end. We are at the end of the beginning.

This is a new beginning for Logos – a chance for us to become a stronger firm, a better partner and advisor to our clients, and a greater force for good in the world.

We are glad to share our vision and mission with you and would be immensely grateful to continue to be your partner for another 18 years and on. As always, we are here for you and any of your colleagues, friends, or families.

So, are you ready to ignite and inspire change? We at Logos are ready to help.