Venture Capitalist Ben Horowitz on Crisis Management

Expert best practices that you can take to heart.
December 11, 2012

Anyone at the helm of a business faces crises. What’s hard is figuring out whether you’ve got a run-of-the-mill crisis or one that’s transformational for the company—which is made more difficult because every crisis is emotional, Andreesen Horowitz co-founder and general partner Ben Horowitz said at the annual American Magazine Conference in October.

To see your way through the fog, you have to work through your first principles, he said—those original assumptions you had when you started the business. In a blog, Horowitz likens this to being a race car driver: Focus on the road and not the wall, on where you’re going rather than what you’re trying to avoid.

A few other techniques Horowitz uses to calm his nerves include getting his thoughts on paper to sort through the facts and his own emotions, and talking with someone who has faced a similarly challenging crisis. Even so, there may be many times when you feel like quitting.

 “Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it,” he writes. “Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: ‘I didn’t quit.’ ” 

 

You might like

What You Can Learn During Small Business Week 2016

Plus, quick tips to keep your inspiration, education and motivation flowing all year long

April 29, 2016

10 Leadership Lessons You’ll Learn On the Job

A diverse staff brings a patchwork of perspectives excited to generate creative, inventive solutions.

April 28, 2016

Why You Should Hold Meetings Outside the Office

Plus, 4 ways to take your next business meeting out of the boardroom and onto the bike.

April 26, 2016