In a June 9, 2014 National Public Radio story about the first nine months of James B. Comey’s 10-year term as FBI director, two leadership tips emerged that may apply to all types of organizations.

The first is that since the 9/11 tragedy, the FBI has had to change from an agency created to catch bank robbers to an agency that prevents crime before it occurs.

While all comparisons pale next to 9/11, many organizations have had some kind of crisis that demonstrates dramatically that the organization must change fundamentally in order to serve its overarching purpose in a changing world.

It requires an entirely different mindset, perhaps, an entirely reordered set of priorities.

The second point raised in the interview, and very likely the key to accomplishing the first, is that the FBI is now focused on the biggest steps, not just the easiest ones. This is what Director Comey sees is necessary for the FBI to become the agency our nation needs in today’s world.

The required response to a defining-moment crisis cannot be cosmetic change, but must be almost genetic change. Hard change – a focus on deep, systemic issues, not superficial matters.

It requires an entirely different level of commitment than existed before.

Posted in: Leadership


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