Reprinted with permission from Harry Nelson’s blog “Harry Nelson: Healthcare,Leadership,Strategy.”

In every organization, there are moments of crisis when something goes extremely wrong. This December marks the second anniversary of such a time for me personally and for our firm. It was a nerve-racking period, when it looked like a bad turn of events might upend our firm. While it was a stressful time, looking back two years later, it ultimately led to clarity, growth, and made us a much stronger organization. I could never have imagined how much we would learn or how much better our organization would get in the process. The anniversary led me to reflect on six lessons I learned about leading through crisis.

1. Assemble a “war cabinet.”

2. Own your mistake(s).

3. Get out the message.

4. Plan for the fluidity of the situation. 

5. Do the things that keep you strong. 

6. Use the crisis as an opportunity to think bigger. 

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Harry Nelson, a Wexner Heritage alum (LA 05), is the co-founder of Nelson Hardiman, LLP, a healthcare regulatory law firm. Harry serves as president of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills.  He also volunteers time advising several other Southern California Jewish day schools and community healthcare organizations on board governance and change management issues.  Harry is currently working on a new community nonprofit collaborative to support healthcare innovation in underserved communities in Los Angeles. Harry also loves his wife and kids, single malt whiskey and Detroit sports teams (he went to U of M for undergrad and law school). Harry can be reached at