In 2013, while I was working in a very large and complex healthcare organisation, Microsoft Active Directory became corrupted meaning that across the organisation we had 30,000 users out for three days. I had everything from a cancer hospital, to a maternity unit, to a community health service falling apart from an IT perspective. In such circumstances, there is a tendency for users to panic, with clinicians predicting harm to patients. We had to fly Microsoft technicians over from Seattle to fix it.
Because I worked in the public sector the media attention was huge. We were attracting intense media attention and Government's attention was also huge.
I learned that tech leadership can be a lonely and pressured place when a business is disrupted by loss of key systems. It was important to hold my nerve, demonstrate leadership and work closely with my peers to make sure we were all on a common message - and to make sure everyone remains calm!
Although my experience was within a public sector organisation with a very strong political dimension, I suspect it’s not that much different in other businesses where you’ve got shareholder or investor attention. The tech leader who is under pressure in a situation where business continuity has imploded is in a very lonely place. You need a lot of resilience and a lot of support from senior management colleagues.
Communication is incredibly important for leaders in these situations and being clear in what you can deliver. If you promise the worst outcome and you won't disappoint