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Breaking Bad’s Walter White on Crisis Management | LinkedIn

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August 26, 2013

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(Contains spoilers from Season 5, Episode 3, original air date Aug. 26, 2013)

When a commercial airliner crashes, it is seldom because one thing went wrong — Donald Margolis notwithstanding.

No, catastrophic failure usually results when many things fail, simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Welcome to Walter White’s World.

After putting his meth cooking and empire-building ambitions behind him, Breaking Bad’s increasingly evil anti-hero is trying to settle into the mundane life of a small businessman and become Walter White again.

Alas, he is not destined to have an A1 day.

We all know that Walt lives to see his 52nd birthday, and that he avoids jail by having a better story than brother-in-law Hank has a case. But the number of things that are failing, in rapid succession, is growing. Jesse Pinkman is awake and filled with a terrible resolve. The methylamine from that great train robbery is coming back to New Mexico from Arizona. Todd won’t just forget Walt’s phone number.

So far so was good for Walt, who neutralized Hank and pushed back on Lydia. For a while, it looked as though his biggest problem was going to be figuring out how to maximize the profits of car air fresheners. But his world is unraveling. The lies are catching up with him. Breaking Bad fans are taking bets only on how White dies, not if.

If Walt dies a free man, and on his own terms — of, perhaps, the lung cancer that has apparently returned — it would be a significant achievement in crisis management. Walt has survived death at the hands of others countless times, as well as the estrangement of his wife and family — all while improving his net worth. That is quite an achievement: Not as complete a reversal of fortune as Johnson & Johnson after the Tylenol scare, but way better than Bernie Madoff.

But the key characteristic of a crisis is that you cannot control it — that’s why they call it crisis "management." You have to understand, in real-time, when to yield and when to tilt. And even if you navigate to perfection, the threat could be existential.

Walt is only at the beginning of the arc that will bring him down — where and how far, we do not know. No sooner did Walt seem to put out one fire, by threatening to portray Hank as the drug kingpin and himself a feckless pawn, than he faces another — literally. Jesse, the scales off his eyes, is about to burn down Walt’s house (if, that is, if he can finally find some matches …)

We know White’s house does not burn down (though the whole fencing off thing makes sense now, what with gasoline splashed all over the living room.)

But White’s ability to manage this escalating crisis will be severely tested. He was able to fend off Hank because his brother-in-law is rational. Jesse is not. I’m stumped how Walt neutralizes the threat from Jesse without killing him. I’m betting that this dysfunctional father will not take the life of his surrogate son. I’m equally afraid that Jesse now has a death wish.

Anybody have any theories how Walt gets past the Jesse obstacle without (you’ll pardon the expression) sending him to Belize?

Featured on:Editor’s PicksLeadership & Management

Posted by:John C A.

via Breaking Bad's Walter White on Crisis Management | LinkedIn.


Born in 1964, business owner, from Woodbridge, VA, owns ExcitingAds! Inc. ( and blog ( He was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. His elementary school was ST. Michael's Convent High School, Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated high school from ST. Bonaventure's Convent High School, Hyderabad, Sind, Pakistan. His pre-med college was S. A. L. Govt. College, Mirpurkas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan in 1990. Earned equivalency certification from Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA in 1994.

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