In the Face of Uncertainty: 25 Top Leaders Speak out on Challenge, Change, and the Future of American Business

In the Face of Uncertainty: 25 Top Leaders Speak out on Challenge, Change, and the Future of American Business

In the Face of Uncertainty: 25 Top Leaders Speak out on Challenge, Change, and the Future of American Business

In the Face of Uncertainty: 25 Top Leaders Speak out on Challenge, Change, and the Future of American Business


"The borders separating our personal and professional lives blurred considerably after the tragedies of September 11th. More than ever, Americans are questioning the true meaning and worth of the work they do. And businesses that were already feeling vulnerable in a sluggish economy have questions of their own: Where do we go from here? And how?

In the Face of Uncertainty presents 25 of the nation's best minds, visionaries who will help executives and managers answer these and other crucial questions. Their wisdom and experience will infuse the nation's companies with the resolve to move forward, and with confidence in the stability and resiliency of American business. Through the author's firsthand interviews, readers will share in the vision and plans of such prominent leaders as:

• Grant Aldonas, Under Secretary for International Trade, US Dept. of Commerce

• John Alexander, President, Center for Creative Leadership

• Charles Barclay, President, American Association of Airport Executives

• Curtis R. Carlson, President, CEO, SRI Inc.

• Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman, CEO, Carlson Cos.

• Mike Carns, four-star general (ret.), U.S. Air Force; former director of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff, Air Force

• Peggy Conlon, President, the Ad Council

• Leo A. Daly III, Chairman and President, Leo A Daly

• Ronald Daly, President, RR Donnelley

• Ralph Dickerson, President, United Way of New York City

• Gerald FitzGerald, President, Parsons Brinckerhoff Aviation

• Joe Galli, President, CEO, Newell Rubbermaid

• Stephen Harrison, President, Lee Hecht Harrison

• Chester Haskell, President, Monterey Institute for International Studies

• Sunir Kapoor, founder/former CEO of E-Stamp, former director of worldwide business strategy for Microsoft, vice president of strategic marketing for Oracle

• Christopher Komisarjevsky, CEO Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller

• James Lawrence, CFO, General Mills

• Howard Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law and Policy Center

•James C. Madden,V, Chairman, President, CEO, Exult

• John Rooney, President and CEO, United States Cellular

• Leonard D. Schaeffer, Chairman and CEO, Wellpoint Health Networks

• Theodore G. Shackley, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations, Central Intelligence Agency

• Ken Smith, founder, executive director, Jobs for America's Graduates

• William Strickland, President and CEO, Manchester Bidwell

• Tai-Chin Tung, SVP/CFO Charles Schwab Investment Management

• Epilogue: William Bridges

Offering a rich diversity of backgrounds and philosophies, In the Face of Uncertainty affirms that the challenge we face is also an unprecedented opportunity to realign our goals, redesign our strategies, and bring business back -- stronger than ever."


Like a body slowly repairing itself after monstrous trauma, all of us are gradually regaining our equilibrium after the events of 2001. It is our hope, here at the American Management Association, that this book of dialogue contributes in some modest way to our collective healing and offers a forum for the management lessons learned from these events.

Certainly none of us, no individual and no business, will ever be quite the same. We cannot and should not be. in dealing with the effects of September 11, we have all discovered a lot about ourselves, personally and professionally. We look at the future differently.

Foremost, I think, a more profound respect for the value of the person has been seared into us. What we mourn after the terrorist attacks is not the loss of income statements or business plans, but the irreversible loss of people we knew or could have known, people who were or could have been our colleagues.

We are also learning how resilient the human spirit can be. By picking up the pieces of our lives and our businesses—and some of us are literally doing just that—we express hope for the future. We hear from many companies that they’re operating with a greater sense of clarity. They report less bureaucracy and quicker decision-making. If a fundamental innocence has shattered, it has been replaced by something more valuable: an enhanced sense of commitment by employees to the values and goals of their organizations.

In the Face of Uncertainty reflects changes in perspectives of leaders who have thought deeply about the fundamental changes we have undergone. John Alexander, president of the Center for Creative Leadership, put it memorably: “Since September 11, everyone has become more of a leader.”

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