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The Perfect Captain for the Perfect Storm

People followed Churchill for his charisma. He knew where he was heading even when he didn’t know exactly how to get there, and he was honest about both. Whether his aim was the polo championship in India, battlefield journalism or rescuing the country, he never lost his focus and determination. He made his people feel safe in times of danger and confident while fighting hopeless battles. He was the perfect captain for perfect storms. (Cavalry captains must weather storms too!) While the Global Partners Training team researched his legacy for leadership during COVID-19, we noticed how his actions fell in line with a tool we have used all along. That tool is TAUC, a simple acronym that helps managers maintain their focus and engage teams under pressure.

“T” for Transparency

In times of crisis, no news is bad news. Announcing the danger makes it less painful and more bearable—like doctors telling you ‘this will hurt a bit’. Pressure makes people and teams feel vulnerable, suspicious and defensive. Leaders who speak openly build trust, even if they give unpleasant news or admit what they don’t know. Honest leaders make people feel safer.

How transparent do you dare to be with your team, customers and suppliers?

“A” for Accuracy

Accuracy creates safety the way transparency inspires trust. And it starts with words. Overusing words like ‘maybe’, ‘probably’ and ‘hopefully’ blunts a leader’s message and undermines morale. The essence of leadership is tactical: evaluating situations, taking action, accepting the consequences, observing and acting again. Correction is acceptable. Hesitation is not.

How accurate do you sound when talking to your people and customers?

“U” for Urgency

The line between urgency and panic is thin and sharp. You know it if you have ever been too scared to move or even open your eyes. In crisis, entire teams can be in denial, sitting still, or worse, running with their eyes closed. Leaders who shake people up and swing them into action across that magical line can lead them to safety, or mobilize them to rescue others.

When you communicate urgency, do you do it with purpose and confidence?

“C” for Control

Emergency scares us because there is no room for mistakes. Once we lose control, there is seldom a second chance to regain it. As Churchill got older and weaker, it became obvious that his secret was communication all along. Purpose and confidence aren’t enough: how leaders speak counts as much as what they say. Watch and learn the three universal signs of assurance: Volume to be heard—Pace to grab and keep attention—Pauses to make key messages echo like gunshots. Of course, the same message must resonate in a leader’s actions too, long after it has been said.

Is it obvious to your team, customers and suppliers that you mean what you say?


At Global Partner’s Training, we have been providing hands-on, experiential customer relationship training for over 15 years. Contact us now to learn more about our programs and how we can help your team create new value for both your company and your customers.

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