Cover of Crisis-Ready Teams by Mary J. Waller and Seth A. Kaplan
Crisis-Ready Teams
Data-Driven Lessons from Aviation, Nuclear Power, Emergency Medicine, and Mine Rescue
Mary J. Waller and Seth A. Kaplan

September 2024
200 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503601444


Excerpts and More

Prepare any team for peak performance when crisis comes.

Crisis-Ready Teams explains how any team, and any team leader, in any industry or sector, can prepare in advance to manage crises that suddenly pull people together to address high-magnitude events that could seriously harm their organizations. The book is based on extensive, unprecedented research on crisis team dynamics, key success behaviors, and why some teams perform so much better than others. Leading scholars Mary J. Waller and Seth A. Kaplan recorded and statistically analyzed audio and video recordings of hundreds of hours of crisis simulations involving flight crews, nuclear power plant control rooms, mine rescues, emergency room doctors and nurses, etc. Based on this empirical research, and other academic literature on how teams perform in crises, the authors show how crisis teams and leaders can cement crucial behaviors through attention to team composition and communication, especially in the first few minutes of a crisis.

The book provides a valuable framework and research data for scholars studying crises and teams in organizations. It is also appropriate for MBA or executive education instruction on crisis management and leadership.

About the authors

Mary J. Waller is Senior Research Scholar at the College of Business at Colorado State University. Prior to completing her Ph.D., she worked in petroleum, aviation, and software development.

Seth Kaplan is Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. His research explores individual and team performance in high-reliability contexts.

"This book is a must read for any organization. Crises are a matter of 'when' not 'if' and the organizations that can survive and even thrive in crisis are those that are built and designed to recognize, respond and adapt quickly. The research is thorough and the examples drive home the critical need for preparation and planning for the inevitable."

—Laura Blackmer, President, Dealer Sales, Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, Inc.

"Given this uncertain, turbulent world of ours it is not a question of 'if' your team is going to experience a crisis but 'when' it will happen. The good news, as Mary Waller and Seth Kaplan point out, is that we need not fall prey to such circumstances. They have discovered the magic differentiators of how teams can manage these crises effectively and they tell you how. So buy the book and guarantee that you will get a good night's sleep knowing that your team is prepped for whatever might come."

—Deborah Ancona, Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

"Crisis-Ready Teams is a must-read, important resource for executive leadership and crisis-response teams at organizations of all sizes and industries. The COVID pandemic taught us that no organization is immune to unplanned crises that evolve outside of our control. Dr. Waller and Dr. Kaplan expertly break down years of empirical research into a practical how-to reference guide for composing and training effective crisis-response teams. Crisis-Ready Teams offers a compelling, ethical argument for executive leadership to not only aspire to be crisis-prepared but to prioritize and mobilize crisis-response planning within their organizations now."

—Julie Weber, Former Vice President and Chief People Officer, Southwest Airlines