AsK tHe eXPerts
Do’s and Don’ts for
the Midst of
FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO
Do’s and Don’ts for Policymakers
In the Midst of an Economic Crisis
new sectors can pave the way for the
emergence of new forms of collaborative
Beware of Losing
Francisco Gil Díaz
1Seize the moment Systemic crises
are moments of dislocation and
uncertainty. But they also have
a strong transformational dimension.
Unusual circumstances tend to create
rare opportunities. When there is a
recognition that more of the same will
not do, alternative ideas and possibilities
emerge as workable options. A system in
crisis either regresses and disintegrates
or reorganizes and rebuilds at a higher
level of complexity. We are at this
Put Innovation and
High on the
4Do not struggle with facts Nothing
is more demoralizing for a leader
than to be disproved by reality.
Do not promise what cannot be achieved.
Do not set timetables that are unrealistic.
Trust people’s capacity to understand
complex situations, to be creative and
experiment with innovative solutions.
Reach out to the best that each can bring
to the table. Build a strong coalition for
change that continuously nurtures the
sense of common purpose and keeps
people’s eyes focused on the goal to be
Time for a Policy
2Talk straight A major component
of the current crisis is the lack of
trust and transparency. Confidence
can only be rebuilt on the basis of truth.
Citizens today make up their minds based
on life experiences and perceptions. If
their knowledge and experience bears no
relation to the message of politicians and
policymakers, the outcome is disbelief and
distrust. Ordinary people can face hard
truths and bear sacrifices if they sense that
leaders speak truthfully and have a grip
on the situation and that the burden of the
solution will be fairly shared by all.
3Harness the power of civic
engagement People and societies
are more resourceful today than
ever before. In times of adversity, they
can draw upon resources that they
were not aware of in times of prosperity.
Discontinuity is a challenge to the
collective imagination, but engaging
5Stay the course One of the key
lessons I learned about crisis
management, especially when
the Brazilian economy was experiencing
wild exchange-rate fluctuations, is that
in the midst of the storm the leader has
to keep calm and sustain the hope that
the situation will ultimately improve.
It’s up to the leader in these difficult
circumstances to keep his team’s morale
high. At the height of the crisis each
collaborator tends to follow a different
path and to see the person next to him
or her as an adversary, with the risk of
all losing heart. Consistency, boldly and
pragmatically sustained, is a crucial
component for successfully dealing with
a crisis situation.