Cuban Missile Crisis.
"During times of change resistance or conflict, don’t act rashly but instead lead with empathy and perspective, keeping communication channels open. Remember that shared humanity matters most"
👏 Happy Friday!
On this day, October 27, 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba, concluding 13 perilous days that had pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war. President J. F Kennedy, in turn, agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. This tense superpower standoff underscores the immense responsibility leaders hold for averting catastrophe through reason and resolve. They faced tremendous pressure from their respective advisors to take aggressive and potentially disastrous actions. But both leaders humanely stepped back from the brink thanks to disciplined statecraft and chose diplomacy and restraint over escalation. They communicated directly, defusing the situation and ultimately agreeing to withdraw missiles. Kennedy displayed skills vital for de-escalation, resisting pressure from military advisors to react forcibly. Instead, he sought diplomatic solutions, authorising a naval blockade to prevent further Soviet missile shipments while negotiating privately with Khrushchev. Critically, Kennedy recognised the importance of giving Khrushchev room to change course without humiliation.
✅ Seven days earlier, Kennedy spoke on national TV and gave one of the most important speeches in history. He told Americans (and the world) that the United States had discovered that the Soviet Union was secretly installing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. He finished the 18-minute speech, “Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right, not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere and, we hope, around the world.” While Kennedy was a superb public speaker, he also surrounded himself with great advisors. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson, among them, sent Kennedy a handwritten note that embodies their shared commitment: “Blackmail and intimidation never; negotiation and sanity always.” Change leaders can leverage much learning from this when facing organisational change resistance. Humanity Matters Most During Change.
“During times of change resistance or conflict, don’t act rashly but instead lead with empathy and perspective, keeping communication channels open. Remember that shared humanity matters most"
👉 One of the most baffling problems that C-suites and leadership teams face is employee resistance to change. For them the change is not optional, the organisation has to implement the change to remain competitive, profitable or to even survive. “Why do our employees not understand this?”, they ask. Simply put, whether the change is good or bad for the organisation there will be change resistance. Organisational leaders cannot control the world changing around them, but they should try to understand and manage their employee’s change resistance.
Resistance can take many forms. It can be overt or covert, it could be direct defiance or affect the whole organisation, just some departments or individual employees. However, organisations and change teams should expect the greatest resistance from those with the most to lose. The sponsor and change team should be prepared for change resistance and the impact and challenge it brings to change implementation, adoption, and benefits delivery.
Have a fantastic weekend with the ones you love and care for, enjoy some fresh air, exercise, eat, drink and be happy.
Further Reading: Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter consults, speaks, and writes on the Leadership of Change®.
For further information please visit our websites:
Peter F Gallagher is a Change Management Global Thought Leader, Guru, Expert, International Speaker, Author and Leadership Alignment Coach.
Listed #1 by leadersHum Top 40 Change Management Gurus You Should Follow in 2022 (Mar 2022).
Ranked #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Change Management (2023-2022-2021-2020) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #1 Business Strategy Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Business Strategy (2022) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #2 Leadership Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Leadership (Aug 2020) by Thinkers360.
Business Book Ranking
Change Management Behaviour - Leadership of Change® Volume 6, listed among the 50 Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2022.
Change Management Adoption - Leadership of Change® Volume 5, listed among year-to-date’s (Jul 2021) most popular books on business and technology from Thinkers360 member thought leaders.
Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change® Volume 3, listed among the 50 Business and Technology Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2021.
Change Management Pocket Guide - Leadership of Change® Volume 2, ranked within the top 50 Business and Technology Books (Jan 2020) from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders.