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On 10th Anniversary Of Boston Marathon Bombing, Several Crisis Management Lessons Still Resonate

By Edward Segal for Forbes

The response to the deadly explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon 10 years ago today yielded important lessons about managing and communicating about a crisis that continue to resonate. The lessons provide important and timely reminders for corporate executives about the best practices for preparing for and responding to a crisis at their organizations.


Leadership contributed to an efffective response to the bombing, Richard Serino, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Harvard University’a National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, said via email. He was FEMA’s deputy administrator when the bombing occurred, was on scene at the marathon at the time of the explosions, and was one of the architects of the response plan.

Serino said that researchers later identified five fundamental leadership principles that were at work on that tragic day, including:

  • Unity of mission [the mission of those leading the response was to save lives].
  • The generosity of spirit and action.
  • Staying in your lanes, do your job, and help others succeed.
  • No ego—no blame. No one took credit for their combined success or pointed fingers when problems arose.
  • A foundation of trust in others.

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