How to Rise Above a Crisis

By Dr. Mark Goulston

“Mark, I’m giddy with excitement,” Jim Mazzo, CEO and  chairman of Advanced Medical Optics, told me over the phone.
Jim is one of the most ethical and effective leaders I know.  But even from such a remarkable man, his comment was astonishing because on that day in 2007, Jim’s company was in  the midst of what most people would call a crisis.  Without waiting to ask his board for permission, Jim had just  ordered a voluntary recall of an eye solution as soon as he  learned that it could contribute to serious corneal infections.
I’d called Jim to tell him how much I admired his action, which reminded me of James Burke’s quick pulling of Tylenol when  several bottles were found to be contaminated with cyanide. 
Jim replied, “We are a great company, with total transparency, a set of values, and a code of conduct that we all respect and follow. I am thrilled because I know that this is one of those rare opportunities that will make both our company and me even better and I am excited to find out just how it will do both."
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