What to do if your CEO suddenly dies

Not only is the sudden death of a top exec a crisis for an organization, it’s also a trying time for employees and people close to that leader. It’s worth preparing.

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Tthe death of a spouse or a close family member are the number one and five most stressful life events for adults, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Little can compare with this intimate level of loss, we have seen recently with SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, the sudden death of a CEO can profoundly touch a company’s employees, customers and shareholders.

When a crisis strikes, most leaders turn to legal, communications and human resources professionals for guidance. Think of investing the time now to plan for such an event like buying insurance: You hope you never need it, but when you do, it’s too late to initiate the process.

Here is a six-point plan to enable you to lead with confidence and composure, even when you may not feel particularly composed. (Remember, none of us is immune from experiencing the loss of someone meaningful to us.)

1. Prepare for the situation before it happens.

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