Symphonic Leadership in a Time of Ebola

In March 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus began in Guinea. Without the necessary knowledge and resources the virus took hold in the country and began its death march across much of West Africa. Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, and Senegal have all struggled to contain the spread of this devastating virus. To date 3,865 people have died and there have been a total of 8,083 confirmed cases, including cases in the United States and Spain.

The world has watched as stories emerged about humanitarian doctors and nurses joining the battle against the virus only to succumb to it themselves. Organizations like the CDC and The World Health Organization are frantically working with countries to treat those infected, find resources to educate people about the virus, and halt it’s spread. 

But as this virus has raged on in West Africa, an unlikely leader stepped up to stop the virus in its tracks. In Harbell, Liberia the Firestone rubber plantation took swift and innovative action to meet a need in their community by setting up an Ebola treatment center that has been hailed as highly effective. You can hear NPR’s Jason Beaubien tell the story here. This story stood out to us because it is a great example of the importance of overcoming the myriad challenges to strategic execution.

In an interview with Firestone’s general director, Ed Garcia, he tells Jason Beaubien, “None of us had Ebola experience.”

Ed Garcia, General Director of Firestone  Photo credit: John W. Poole/NPR

Ed Garcia, General Director of Firestone
Photo credit: John W. Poole/NPR

But Garcia and his team researched as much information about Ebola as they could and improvised with the resources they had. What made Firestone’s strategy effective is they quickly articulated a vision of what the ideal solution looked like, they devised a strategy to get there, and then mobilized their people and resources to quickly implement the solution. All of these steps are critical to strategic execution, but often leaders stumble along the way, skipping steps or poorly completing steps, ultimately causing the strategy itself to fail.

Ed Garcia was not a medical professional. He wasn’t even knowledgeable about Ebola before the outbreak. But Garcia saw how the need of his community would affect his business and he jumped into action.

In our global society the challenges of one region can affect the entire world. We need leaders who are equipped, willing, and ready to take on these challenges and create solutions that can have real impact. We need leaders who have strategic foresight and who can take that foresight and turn it into effective strategic execution.

Symphonic Strategies helps leaders develop these skills. What’s your challenge? How can we help you take your vision from strategic foresight to strategic execution?

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