Company leaders are frequently confronted with highly uncertain and risky situations for which they are often ill-prepared, and consequently, in which they often panic. Based on an exploratory case study of extreme rock climber Alexander Honnold, we have developed propositions that help decision-makers to learn to avoid panic in crises. Our findings suggest that gradual exposure to incrementally more challenging tasks by adjusting individual learning goals allows decision-makers to leverage existing skills, and to develop their physical, mental and emotional states simultaneously. Deliberate confrontation with the challenges that may trigger panic through real-life simulation and imagination helps decision-makers to retrain and transform triggers for panic responses, and to build systemic confidence. This organic and holistic growth provides decision-makers with the simultaneous preparation and mastery of their physical, mental, and emotional states to ensure the lightness and calmness necessary not to panic when facing a crisis.
GRÖSCHL, S. et LEPOUTRE, J. (2024). Don’t Panic: Remaining El Capitan While Navigating Unpreparedness in Response to Extreme Events. Journal of Management Inquiry, 33(1), pp. 26-45.