Great Leaders Among Us

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There’s nothing like blending leadership and the power of Zero Gravity thinking to make a huge difference – in life and in business.


Some of the best Zero Gravity thinking I’ve seen in a while was demonstrated by Newark Mayor Cory Booker during the recent blizzard. There’s a great article in Harvard Business Review about the dramatic difference between Newark and New York’s response to the blizzard.

So what made Cory’s response such a great example of Zero Gravity thinking? Lotsa things. Here are just a few.

Get in the trenches. Many traditional leaders follow the line of thinking that says a leader should stay in the control center during any crisis operation. That way they can be available to make decisions, to move resources and for consultation whenever they’re needed. That approach isolates leaders from their troops – which is the last thing you want in a crisis.

Cory moved into the trenches, rolled up his sleeves and dugout cars, buses, people, pets and anything else that needed help. He knew what any great leader knows – people need to see and touch their leaders in times of trouble. Staying in an ivory tower didn’t do anything to help his constituents – so Cory left the ivory tower. But he also found a way to stay in touch with his command enter – thanks to his use of modern technology – aka mobile devices and social media.

Communication. Traditional responses focus on a leader communicating with the rescue teams. Cory broke that mold and communicated with his entire constituency via a little thing called Twitter. He was able to communicate with thousands of people who needed help – and he accelerated rescue responses dramatically by doing jumping into the middle of the communications, removing the barriers and focusing on getting people help, not on the communication hierarchy.

Because he was able to communicate in real-time – he was able to give his constituents updates, share stories of heroism and generally ” rally the troops” of Newark – all through his mobile device and the big T.

Forget the Spin. We’ve all become accustomed to the “Big Spin.” That’s what happens when leaders try to convince us that outright disaster or crisis “really isn’t that bad.” We saw it with Deepwater, with Katrina, with Wall Street, with Afghanistan and Iraq. We still see it every day.

Cory didn’t insult his constituents by trying to downplay their problems, by spinning a positive story. He admitted the truth, forgot the spin and focused on stepping up to the reality. He broke the mold of modern politics, refusing to create some false image manufactured by a press liaison.

One of the People. Cory’s Zero Gravity leadership doesn’t stop with the crisis. He lives it every single day – from sharing inspiring thoughts to publicly conversing with his constitituents on a variety of topics that mnatter to them – to sharing his own weight loss program, goals and challenges. Cory is a leader of, by and for the people – and I personally think every single supposed “leader” in our government should learn some BIG lessons from Cory’s hands-on, from-his-heart approach to government.

The list of Zero Gravity thinking goes on and on. Thanks to that thinking – Cory united a city and managed a crisis in the most brilliant display of true leadership any of us has witnessed.

What did you learn from Cory?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.

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