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3 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From 9/11

Even in the greatest tragedy to befall America we can learn valuable lessons of perseverance in business

J. Donald Rice

In times of crisis, move quickly or lose your business. J. Donald Rice, CEO of Rice Financial Products Co. (No. 4 in tax-exempt securities with $568 million in lead issues on the 2011 BE INVESTMENT BANKS list) was at home when he discovered his offices in the north tower had been decimated on that fateful day. In fact, he took great pride that his investment bank had been one of the few African American firms to occupy space there. Rice said at the time: “I feel like they came in and blew up my second home. ”

After making calls to confirm his staff’s safety, Rice sprung into action. He transformed his home into the company’s base of operation and scoured the city for computers so they could trade securities and structure deals. Within four business days, the firm moved into new quarters in downtown New York. To further inspire confidence, Rice took the first available flight to Los Angeles just five days after the attack and met face-to-face with clients.

BE asked him why he felt compelled to move so quickly after the life-altering event. He said that his competitors, without sentimentality or delay, tried to steal business from his firm.

So remember: Vultures will begin circling and picking bones—even if you’re not a corpse.

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