Is Leadership Ready to Handle a Shark Attack?

CIO and IT leaders should be able to relate to this video. Watch the first few minutes to see Mick Fanning waiting to catch a wave when suddenly he is attacked by a shark. You can see him scramble a bit then fend him off before a boat comes to his rescue.

Now for those of us in IT, there are some great lessons to share with your business leaders on handling a real life crisis from this video.

  • The announcer shows no real sign of panic. Yes, he utters a cuss word when he realizes what's going on but he regains his composure and shows no panic or stress in his reporting despite the fact this has rarely (if ever) happened before.

  • There are clear operational procedures for this type of crisis and within minutes, you can see two boats zooming in to help with the rescue.

  • There are also safety and communication procedures outlined on what to do and the commissioner of the event is bound to follow them. 

  • The shark gets away which unfortunately is more often to happen in the corporate setting when a business leader goes on the attack.

Unfortunately, I think many CIO can reflect on this situation. Does your leadership team panic at the first sign of a major issue or crisis? Are you well prepared to handle the crisis with clearly defined operational procedures? Are you ready to handle communications during and after the crisis? If the issue is internal, do you have a culture that deals with individuals that are the source of the crisis?


  1. I can certainly relate, Issac. To take the analogy further, we are swimming in an ocean of requests, trying to complete successful runs to the shore, balancing on a limited platform, while being pushed in all directions. In the midst of it all, we undergo a hit and run and have to fend off the attack or suffer potential disaster.

    1. Yes. That's it. What I really like in this story is bullet #1 - no panic from the announcer. All to often, our business partners panic button the first hint of an issue.

  2. The old adage, "Never let 'em see you sweat" really comes into play. As leaders, how we handle crisis situations will cascade through our teams. Stay calm and they remain calm. Thanks for the insights Isaac!

    1. Jeff that's a really good point, "How we handle crisis situations will cascade through our teams." All too often, leadership doesn't see the impact of their behaviors.


Comments on this blog are moderated and we do not accept comments that have links to other websites.


About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.