One reason why it has been so difficult to tackle the Ebola crisis is fear, which prevents healthcare workers from grappling effectively with the situation. Fear can hobble an organization; for instance, recent research shows that at Nokia, fear led to paralysis, isolating the headquarters from the marketplace and rendering it unable to respond to a fast-changing situation.
The younger of us, a pulmonary and critical care physician, just returned from the Ebola outbreak’s epicenter in Guinea, where he was deployed by WHO to treat victims of the disease. The elder, a management teacher, studies how organizations react under conditions of uncertainty and fear.
We recently compared notes, and identified four practices seen in the fight against Ebola that have been particularly effective in managing uncertainty and fear.