It was the depth of winter, December 2008, and things were not good. The Labor Department had reported that more than 500,000 jobs were lost in November, a number not seen since 1974, and unemployment was rising. Investment banks had collapsed, the housing bubble had popped, and people in every corner of the world were worried about their future. As you might expect, Wall Street was not an especially happy place to work.

As a leadership consultant and CEO coach, I felt a bit like an ER doctor in the midst of an epidemic. There was so much pain out there and in so many different industries. It was an extraordinary time for leaders, not only because of the difficulties most industries were facing, but also because ...

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