Some say that character is revealed by what you do when no one is looking. This may be true for an individual, but for leaders within organizations, I contend that perhaps character is revealed by what you do when everyone is looking. When the heat is on. When challenges abound. When resources are scarce, competition is fierce, and failure is a possibility.

In preparation for kasina's Costs of Compensation 2009 report, we had the opportunity to interview over 20 sales executives and leaders at asset management firms. While we were gathering data specifically about compensation, our conversations gave us a window into how organizations had reacted to the still very recent financial market crisis (our interviews took place from April through June). We walked away with as many insights on leadership and coping with crisis as we did on compensation.

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