Rudy Giuliani, Mayor Of New York City during the 9-11 terrorists attacks, had wowed a crowd of 500 business leaders with his stories of how the 9-11 crisis was handled and thousands of people were rescued before the both towers collapsed.
The Mayor recounted how he’d arrived at the twin towers a few minutes before the second jet hit and exploded into flames. The Fire Chief had advised him that they could save people in floors below the fire, and 98 percent of them were saved. In the floors on or above the fire, 3000 people could not be saved. Mayor Giuliani said he’d watched one man jump away from the flames and fall to his death, landing about 50 feet away from him.
In his “frenzy of decision making,” the Mayor said 7,000 people were rescued, 500,000 people were evacuated from Manhattan, and New York city was protected against further attacks–all in less than one hour after the jets hit the towers.
How were these results produced so quickly?
Mayor Giuliani attributed these results to courage, relentless planning, communication, teamwork and optimism. He said fire fighters, police and rescue teams had learned to overcome fear and courageously do what had to be done, because of their intense training.
Because of relentless planning, the evacuation plans already had been made and were ready to be implemented. One hundred thirty terrorist targets already had been identified in New York city, and the Police Chief had all of them secured after one call from the mayor. Since generators already were on standby in case of power outages in NYC, these generators were delivered to ground zero so rescue teams could work 24 hours a day.
The mayor explained why there was no uncertainty in the team. Everyone had absolute clarity on how to handle each crisis that arose. They had anticipated everything that could go wrong in emergencies and how to handle it. They had received clear, consistent communication of strong vision for solving any problem. The mayor said this planning and training gave people the confidence to use their intuition to get through the unexpected. “When you’re fully prepared, you always find the answers you need to lead,” he said.
How do you become a great leader?
The mayor believes that leaders are made, not born. “Leaders are optimists who solve problems,” he said. “Optimism is the secret weapon that draws people to you, if they believe you have the answers to their problems.”
How does he help his team develop optimism?
“Whenever someone comes to tell me about a problem, they also must suggest solutions,” Rudy said. He also stressed the importance of being resilient after failure, admitting that he’d learned more from his election losses than his wins.
What is the greatest quality in a great leader?
“First and foremost, a great leader must love people,” he said, “And be there for people in tough times when they need you the most.”
Today, this great leader often is introduced as “The Mayor Of The World.” This is an expression of gratitude and admiration for how he helped us rebound from 9-11, for how he consistently produces visionary solutions to tough problems and inspires greatness as a leader in government and business.
I am honored to give our Resilient Optimist Award to Rudy Giuliani. If our elected officials would develop his 6 qualities of great leaders, they would bring an end to the bitter partisanship that is failing our Country, produce solutions to our tough challenges and lead us to renewed greatness.
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