Jamie drew a metaphor that is so clear in my mind and it perfectly captured the situation with his sister. It's as if everyone is in the back of the bus, facing the wrong way, and asking where we're going. No one, no one is actually willing to grab the steering wheel and drive. That driver's seat is a very dangerous place to be for sure, though sitting in the back, eyes covered, knowing no driver is up there steering is far worse. It's a choice of the lesser of two evils, with advantages and disadvantages for each action.
Let's look at hat's actually happening for Jamie's sister - no one's driving. A crash is practically unavoidable. A runaway car with no driver can only stay on the road for so long. The people in the back may feel that they have a better chance of survival if they hang out and wait for someone else to step up. That's possible. Though the greater likelihood is that the whole operation goes down while everyone is wringing their hands. And the lead up to the crash is painful and anxiety-inducing.
An alternative is that someone does take the helm, and the crash happens anyway. It would be a near certainty that the blame and guilt will fall to the driver, and that driver couldn't hope to survive. But what if that driver can pull it off? At this point, it's hard to imagine any industry coming out of this recession unscathed. With the right leadership, the wounds could be bumps and bruises instead of lost limbs and massive internal bleeding.
It's a gamble - there are clear choices that need to be made now by every company. What's not clear is the best way forward that causes the least number of casualties. Strong leadership that focuses on stakeholder needs now is best able to find a way up, over, or through. At this point, we have to ask ourselves a key question about that bus situation: If we had no intention or desire to drive, or at least take a shift at the wheel, then why did we get on the bus in the first place? It's foolish and downright dangerous to leave an entire journey up to everyone else.
The photo above can be found at http://www.businesstravellogue.com/files/2006/10/bus_cartoon.gif