After a crisis and our management of it has run its course, it pays to review all the details of what occurred and evaluate how we responded.


We need to determine what could have been done to help us prevent such a crisis from happening in the first place, and take the necessary steps to improve our response planning and capabilities before the next emergency.

The term “lessons learned” is often used upon completion of simulation exercises or after a real event has ended. But lessons can’t be learned unless you have made changes and then re-evaluated them to ensure they actually work. At PreparedEx, we like to use the phrase “lessons to be learned,” which implies we will learn those lessons only after we have made the necessary changes and validated those changes in an exercise. It would be foolhardy to wait for the next real crisis to test our changes.

Related: How Tabletop Exercises Make Strong Leaders

Here at PreparedEx, we continually study the good, the bad and the ugly of crisis responses. Today we’re going to be looking at a short video that represents, in our view, a good response to what could have been a really ugly situation.

This video of Domino’s Pizza’s President, Patrick Doyle, was made in response to a video made by two rogue Domino’s employees pretending they were contaminating the food. They posted their malicious video online where it soon grew into a crisis for Domino’s, impacting its brand and reputation for a short period of time. Watch the video and then let’s look at three good leadership traits that come across during this video.

Video –

Although he’s clearly reading from a script (which was a flaw in the taped response that a teleprompter would have easily corrected), his body language as well as his verbal delivery nonetheless provide a number of positive leadership traits that can be lessons for all leaders.

1. Empathy

Straight from the start of the video message he apologizes and comes across as very sincere. Having the ability to capture the audience and project empathy in those first few seconds will only enhance how you’re perceived within the eyes of your stakeholders, including customers, employees and the general public. As the saying goes, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

2. Strength

After 1:24 minutes of the video he starts his sentence with “it sickens me” and follows on to talk about the company and its employees. This was a very strong moment in the video as he used those three words (it sickens me) in an assertive tone that’s a very human response, yet not one that’s excessively aggressive. This to me show’s he’s prepared to meet challenges head on, and he leads from the front as all strong leaders do.

3. Believability

Having watched the video a number of times I was left with one really positive thought: I believe this man! And although he’s reading from that script, this is the type of leader that most employees and stakeholders would want to have at the helm during a crisis.

There are many traits required by leaders and even more for those who lead during major disasters. Can you lead your organization, and do you have the traits that make you a strong leader? When there’s a crisis, effective leadership is what’s needed.

Rob Burton

Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.