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14 Principles From JFK's Cuban Missile Crisis Leadership Masterclass.

"13 Days In October" is a 80 page treasure chest of crisis, decision making principles.

Here is a list of the gems I found:
Principle #1 Great Decisions Start With Values

Kennedy repeatedly referenced back to his perception of the US moral obligation. It didn’t just matter what happened, but how it happened and it was rooted in a deep sense of values he believed about the identity of his country.
Principle #2 Prepare To Be Present

If JFK can take a swim before deciding whether or not to plunge the world into nuclear holocaust, I can take 15 minutes to clear my head and check my emotions before a big decision or meeting.
Principle #3 Seek Conflicting Opinions

Over and over again it was stated how eager JFK was to hear from people that disagreed with him. He had no interest in yes men and made it safe for people to voice dissenting opinions. In the end he would hear them all and decide.
Principle #4 Eliminate Hierarchy To Elevate Ideation

To maximize the output of a group of people in a room I need to eliminate any fear or repercussion for bad ideas, or speaking out of turn. There is no obvious person to answer a problem without an obvious solution.
Principle #5 The Emotions Of The Moment Don’t Belong To Everyone

It is so tempting to dump the emotional weight onto everyone around me. JFK understood that the burden was not the public’s to bare at every step. His ability to move from crisis to campaign was incredible.
Principle #6 Find The Balance Between Hope and Fear.

When I communicate a decision it should be transparent enough for people to feel the gravity of the situation but hopeful enough that they are not bogged down by fear. Kennedy executed this masterfully.
Principle #7 The Audience Still Has To Go Where You Have Already Been

After taking time to make a decision, I cannot presume the audience will immediately meet me in my present position. They'll process many of the same early ideas, that were only dismissed after much debate.
Principle #8 The Expectation Is Decide and Commit

In the room, we can all disagree, heatedly, yelling, viciously defending our opinions. When we leave the room, absolute unity.
Principle #9 Ready The Backup Plan

Despite deciding against military action every time, Kennedy always readied the troops should something change. He believed in his plan but had the backup option ready. The higher the unpredictability the greater the need for secondary options
Principle #10 Obsess Over The Details

Good inputs lead to good outputs. The clarity of the facts matter. This is not the moment to delegate, it's the moment to dive in and secure the truth. Gain widespread visibility to all factors affecting the outcome.
Principle #11 Insecurity Is An Inevitable Companion

There is no way to make a decision strapped with uncertainty that will not be accompanied by fits of doubt. I must not immediately consider these to be a signal that I have made the wrong decision. Learn to doubt the doubt.
Principle #12 Empathy Is Access To A Broader Brain

The eyes of others offer access to new information. JFK had eyes for others, including Khrushchev. He regularly tried to see the crisis from his view and consider how to avoid embarrassing him.
Principle #13 Calm Is The Sought State

When peace is the sought outcome I must try to make decisions when in that state myself. Listen first, and exemplify the attribute I want the decision to create.
Principle #14 Humility Is Heroic

Just read this, it’s incredible.
I hope you find a principle to take with you today that makes leading in this moment a little more peaceful.

Thanks for reading.
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