Business

Leading after the earthquake: Lessons learned through crisis

On the morning of April 25, 2015, Mark and Laurel Sears were asleep in Durham, North Carolina. They’d recently moved there from Nepal – their home for six years and the location of their company, Cloud Factory.

They awakened to phones that would not stop ringing. On the other end of one of them was Cloud Factory’s Vice President of Engineering in Kathmandu. He told Mark, “I’m about to run out of battery, and I need you to call my family and tell them I’m alright.” So they got up, made the call, and then watched news they would never forget. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake had just struck their former home.

And Mark’s employees were still there. He’d just been there a week before.

Mark began to ask himself questions: “Do I go? Do I get on the plane? Can I go?” He did go, turned around and went back to Nepal that same day.

What he found happening in his offices in Kathmandu when he got there was remarkable. The team was working in relief mode, using agile software, Trello Boards and whiteboards. At this point, they weren’t working to save the company. They were devising a plan to account for and care for their co-workers – all 1,800 of them.

This care for others had become part of the company’s DNA.

Listen to the podcast to learn for insights about a company culture that prepared techies to become leaders in an emergency and literally among the first relief workers after the earthquake. You may find inspiration for what you can do in our present moment of crisis.

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