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COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:October 15, 2020

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Seeking clarity: How the concept of work has shifted (Washington Post) Published on: October 13, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • When speaking, I’ve learned to fix my gaze on the tiny glass eye at the top edge of my monitor, not my listener’s face, to look like I’m making eye contact.
  • By the time the call ends, I’m in a flop sweat from trying to communicate while also self-monitoring every voluntary and involuntary movement of my face and body.
  • The popular name for this condition is “Zoom fatigue”
Future of Work (Washington Post) Published on: October 12, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Another sign that working from home is here to stay: Companies are hiring executives to lead the virtual work experience.
  • Even if they were encouraged by management to take time off, they worried they would be compared to the fathers — and employees without children.
  • The business lunch will one day make a return, business professors, networking experts and professionals agree. But when the ritual resumes, they predict, it might be less frequent simply because workers will spend less time in their offices.
How to Manage a Hybrid Team (HBR) Published on: October 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Your employees’ needs are always varied. But right now, as many companies navigate returning to an office in some shape or form, your team members are likely contending with vastly different situations.
  • First things first: your primary role as a manager, pandemic or no, is to support your employees.
  • Employees are under immense stress and some of them may be in shock. It’s incumbent on you to reach out.
  • Some people may feel anxious or resentful of the fact that they are being asked to return to the office; some may feel that working from home leaves them at a professional disadvantage.
Covid-19 could be the start of a better era for women who work (FT) Published on: October 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Women are over-represented in sectors most hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic: they account for about 60 per cent of workers in accommodation services and retail across OECD countries, rising to 75 per cent or more of the retail sectors in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
  • In the UK, mothers were more likely to have asked to be furloughed than fathers. In the US, the proportion of women in the labour force has dropped back to the same level it was when Ronald Reagan was president.
  • Yet the pandemic has also brought hope. Forced to experiment with remote working, Japanese companies from Fujitsu to Hitachi have realised workers can be just as productive, probably more so, without long hours in the office.
How to Build Rapport … While Wearing a Mask (HBR) Published on: September 28, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Nonverbal communication in the workplace is extremely important.
  • This makes communication in the age of Covid-19 more challenging for the obvious reason that masks, a necessary component of fighting the pandemic, hide the parts of our faces that display facial expressions — particularly those micro expressions that we use without thinking to convey as well as perceive sincerity, trustworthiness, and good intentions.
Pandemic Will ‘Take Our Women 10 Years Back’ in the Workplace (NY Times) Published on: September 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Workplaces already tend to penalize women who choose to work fewer hours or need more flexibility, and that, too, is proving to be exacerbated in the pandemic.
  • “The first impact is that the unemployment rate is growing faster for women than for men,” said Liora Bowers, the author of the Taub Center report.
  • Women already held more precarious positions in the work force — working fewer hours, for less money, with shorter tenures and in lower-ranking jobs than men.
Who’s really at fault for campus coronavirus outbreaks? (The Week) Published on: September 25, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The campus COVID crisis is largely a problem caused, or at the very least abetted, by school administrators.
  • And it further reveals an issue that those of us involved in the academy have known for some time: The folks who claim to be our society’s foremost vendors of leadership are often glaringly devoid of it themselves.
  • By choosing to reopen for in-person or even hybrid models of teaching, as so many schools have done, college presidents and administrators willingly joined our broader culture’s dangerous charade of normalcy.
3 Ways to Motivate Your Team Through an Extended Crisis (HBR) Published on: September 25, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • A large part of a leader’s responsibility is to provide structure, guidance, and regulation; yet many workplace studies point to the fact that the most important gauge for a healthy work environment isn’t a strong external framework, but whether individuals can foster internal motivation.
  • Using a well-established theory of motivation called self-determination theory, or SDT, we have identified three main psychological needs that leaders can meet to help their employees stay engaged, confident, and motivated.
  • Effective leaders foster internal motivation by empowering employees’ sense that they are the authors of their actions and have the power to make choices that are aligned with their own values, goals, and interests, as well as their team’s.
Why corporate well-being initiatives need to get personal (strategy+business) Published on: September 18, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • In a recent PwC survey, CEOs reported plans for their companies to become more digital and flexible — and more employee focused.
  • For example, 78 percent of CEOs said they believe the shift toward remote collaboration will endure, and 61 percent said they believe that low-density workplaces are here to stay.
  • 24 percent of the CEO Panel Survey respondents reported that they provided additional financial support to employees during the pandemic.
The Uncertain Future of Corporate HQs (HBR) Published on: September 18, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has seen tens of millions of Americans engage in a gigantic experiment in working from home — one that looks to be more permanent than anyone might have imagined.
  • The question of where to locate corporate facilities has been increasing in strategic importance for a long time.
  • Figuring out who will work from home and who will require actual office space, which offices to prune and which to keep, how they will be configured and shared, and precisely where they should be sited — in talent-laden superstar cities, in more cost-effective second- or third-tier metros, in downtown urban centers, suburbs or rural regions — requires more strategic thought, analysis, and planning than ever.
Don’t Let the Pandemic Set Back Gender Equality (HBR) Published on: September 16, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Our analysis shows that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs: Women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses as of May 2020.
  • At the same time, the burden of unpaid care, which has risen in the pandemic, falls disproportionately on women.
  • Reversing the regressive trend will require, among things, investment in education, family planning, maternal mortality prevention, digital inclusion, and unpaid care work.
How remote staff will build a new corporate culture (FT) Published on: September 14, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Since the pandemic started to lock down economies and shut down workplaces, strong existing ties between colleagues have sustained teams.
  • Keeping even long-serving staff aligned with the corporate mission will become harder, the longer they spend away from the workplace.
  • As a wave of recruits arrives for the first day at the online office, human resources departments are bombarding them with welcome videos from senior staff and invitations to “buddy” virtually with colleagues.
Alaska Built One of the Most Comprehensive Covid-19 Testing Operations in U.S. (WSJ) Published on: September 12, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • The last comparable pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu, had devastated the state’s Native American population, and Mr. Dunleavy wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.
  • During the summer surge of cases, Alaska was testing more people per capita than any other state in the U.S., according to Worldometers. It currently ranks No. 2, behind Rhode Island, and has the nation’s lowest Covid-19 deaths per capita.
  • Alaska stands out as an example of a state that, in the absence of a centralized testing operation by the federal government, managed to cobble together a program that helped state and tribal officials track the outbreak.
The surprising traits of good remote leaders (BBC) Published on: September 9, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Strong in-person leadership skills don’t necessarily translate to being a good virtual leader. Instead, organization and competency reign supreme.
  • The study shows that, instead of those with the most dynamic voices in the room, virtual teams informally anoint leaders who actually do the work of getting projects done.
  • “Virtually, we are less swayed by someone’s personality and can more accurately assess whether or not they are actually engaging in important leadership behaviours. People are more likely to be seen based on what they actually do, not based on who they are” said Steven Charlier, chair of management at Georgia Southern University.
Netflix’s Reed Hastings Deems Remote Work ‘a Pure Negative’ (WSJ) Published on: September 7, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Co-CEO, Reed Hastings, of streaming giant discusses company’s culture of candor and how working from home is harder.
  • Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.
  • Hastings: If I had to guess, the five-day workweek will become four days in the office while one day is virtual from home. I’d bet that’s where a lot of companies end up.
How Boards Can Plan for the Disasters That No One Wants to Think About (HBR) Published on: September 4, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • It’s tempting to call the Covid-19 pandemic a black swan — an event so unexpected and devastating that companies could not have prepared for it.
  • But experts have been predicting global pandemics for years, and in January 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report cited infectious diseases as a potential threat. Yet very few companies included a global pandemic in their highest risk categories.
  • Boards have a special responsibility for building the necessary resilience in this environment. They have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the business is sustainable.
The Covid-era protocol for face-to-face meetings (FT) Published on: August 31, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Until the discovery of an effective vaccine, though, the handshake will probably also continue to be a reliable vector for resurgence of Covid-19, as hugs and kisses have been already in tactile Spain.
  • Within the world of more formal business or diplomatic meetings, centuries-old norms of behaviour are changing, shoved aside by blunter health and safety protocols.
  • For those in the public eye, the only option may seem to be to avoid social contact altogether. In the past week, Ireland’s agriculture minister and its EU commissioner have resigned after attending a golf society dinner that allegedly breached the Covid-19 limit on numbers.
Women are in the firing line in this ‘pink recession’ (FT) Published on: August 30, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • We have grown used to seeing men in blue-collar jobs bear the brunt of recession retrenchments. This time is different.
  • More women are in paid work and they have held a lot of the jobs being axed, in sectors such as retail and accommodation. There is already talk of a “she-cession” in the US, where the unemployment rate in July was 9.4 per cent for men and 10.5 per cent for women.
  • Globally, McKinsey reckons women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs.
  • One could go on, about the fact that globally, women make up 70 per cent of health and social care workers, putting them at risk of infection. Or about the global rise in domestic violence during lockdowns that the UN calls a “shadow pandemic”. Or the UK data suggesting that pre-crisis, most personal protective equipment was not designed to fit women properly.
Two P.R. Experts at F.D.A. Have Been Ousted After Blood Plasma Fiasco (NY Times) Published on: August 28, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Two senior public relations experts advising the Food and Drug Administration have been ousted from their positions after fumbled communications about a blood plasma treatment for Covid-19.
  • The White House had installed Ms. Miller, who had previously worked in communications for the re-election campaign of Senator Ted Cruz and as a journalist for One America News, the conservative cable network, in this post just 11 days ago.
  • The F.D.A. had been considering allowing the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for Covid-19 on an emergency basis, but last week, The New York Times reported that the decision had been delayed after Dr. Francis S. Collins and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci intervened and expressed concern that the available evidence on the effectiveness of the treatment was too weak.
How to Make Rational Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty (HBR) Published on: August 28, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • As we’re battling a virus that scientists still don’t fully understand, watching the stock market sink, then soar, then sink again, and facing a contentious election, the future seems completely unpredictable (instead of merely as unpredictable as it has always been). When we feel such heightened uncertainty, our decision-making processes can break down.
  • Being aware of our uncertainty is a necessary precursor to managing it. Effective awareness means pausing, taking a strategic stop, and assessing the situation and the unknowns.
  • There is so much we know to be unknown. But there’s good news: To solve a specific problem, you don’t need to probe all the unknowns.
How to reduce the mental trauma of covid-19 (The Economist) Published on: August 27, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Not since the second world war have so many people in so many places been traumatised at once. Even after the disease itself is brought under control, the mental scars will linger.
  • In Spain nearly a sixth of those infected are health-care workers, and most of them show signs of ptsd.
  • In Bangladesh, where the incomes of poor people briefly fell by 80% when lockdowns were tight, 86% of people in one poll reported covid-19-related stress.
  • Research into previous disasters suggests that survivors’ long-term mental health depends more on “perceived support” than “received support”.
The women working in health and care look after us, it’s time we looked after them (BMJ) Published on: August 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The hardships women working in health and care have faced as a result of the covid-19 crisis have the potential to have an extremely damaging long-term effect on these women themselves in the coming months, and the health and care sector as a whole.
  • But the Health and Care Women Leaders Network, of which I am chair and which is delivered by the NHS Confederation, recently carried out a survey of more than 1,300 women working health and care, and the results of the survey lay bare the burdens, pain and fears women (and we use that term through an intersectional lens) working in health and care have faced.
  • Indeed, nearly three-quarters reported that their job had a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing, and more than half had suffered a negative impact on their physical health.
How to Foster Psychological Safety in Virtual Meetings (HBR) Published on: August 25, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • When Covid-19 was recognized as an emerging public health crisis earlier this year, tens of thousands of employees were sent home from offices around the world to start working from home for the foreseeable future.
  • It may take years before we understand the full impact of this abrupt shift to virtual work on people and companies, but it wasn’t long before many started to wonder about the impact of virtual meetings on psychological safety — people feeling they can raise questions, concerns, and ideas without fear of personal repercussion.
  • There are good reasons to worry. Detecting social cues or non-verbal agreement is nearly impossible. Team members may feel isolated without the natural support of an ally nodding from across the table.
Burnout, splinter factions and deleted posts: Unpaid online moderators struggle to manage divided communities (Washington Post) Published on: August 25, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • From the pandemic to systemic racism and volatile politics, the real world is seeping into online communities and making them harder to moderate.
  • Over the past five months, many moderators have found their jobs mirroring the outside world: increasingly messy, harder and unpredictable.
  • Facebook says there has been an increase in groups participation during the pandemic, and in conversations about race amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
  • In the United States, which has the highest number of reported covid-19 deaths in the world, 4.5 million people are in a pandemic-related support group on Facebook, according to the company.
This COVID-19 summer’s must-watch show is… an NBA rookie’s YouTube page? (Ars Technica) Published on: August 23, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • In early videos, Thybulle demystifies bubble policies and experiences as much as any traditional media.
  • Even if players will ultimately come into contact early and often during games, Welcome To The Bubble shows they must stay apart in fixed-position chairs during breaks on the practice court. Disney park wristbands that might normally FastPass a ride on Space Mountain instead help a player’s health data travel with them seamlessly for instant clearance.
  • And Thybulle walks the audience through this process: after arriving to the bubble and quarantining in their rooms until passing a consecutive number of COVID-19 tests, players then must take their temperature daily and head to a ballroom regularly for nose swabs.
Many Companies Planned to Reopen Offices After Labor Day. With Coronavirus Still Around, They’re Rethinking That. (WSJ) Published on: August 23, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Expecting the virus to be under control by Labor Day, many employers had hoped to bring white-collar workers back to the office next month.
  • In an August survey of 15 major employers that collectively employ about 2.6 million people, 57% said they had decided to postpone their back-to-work plans because of recent increases in Covid-19 cases.
  • As they postpone back-to-the-office plans, many are adjusting safety protocols and thinking ahead about new quandaries—from how much legal immunity employers have if workers get sick to whether they can require Covid-19 inoculations when a vaccine becomes available.
How to Get Employees to Report Their Covid-19 Risk (HBR) Published on: August 21, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • As the economy reopens, employers are striving to adopt policies and practices that protect their employees from contracting Covid-19. It’s an especially pressing concern, given that infections continue to surge in many states.
  • Ideally, employees would proactively report that they, or someone in their immediate environment, is experiencing early symptoms as soon as they suspect they may have been exposed. However, employees may not want to reveal that they are a contagion risk.
  • We have researched how safety violations and sexual harassment get reported in garment factories, as well as the effectiveness of different reporting protocols in generating actionable data. We believe that the lessons learned from those high-stakes contexts can help to ensure that workers to report potential Covid-19 exposure in a timely manner.
Big firms offer stressed parents new perks such as subsidized tutoring (Washington Post) Published on: August 20, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Tech firms and other major corporations that have long offered family-friendly perks for their employees’ youngest children are adding new educational benefits to help with school-aged kids as working parents again face a school year juggling work and virtual learning.
  • A program initiated by discussions between Accenture and Bright Horizons, the child care center operator, and being adopted by Microsoft, Bank of America and Accenture, will offer employees of these corporate giants access to small-group, part-time, “school-day supervision” at a heavily subsidized cost.
  • It is one of a fast-growing range of benefits some employers are starting to offer working parents struggling with the crushing stress and financial burden of work and virtual school.
6 Ways a Crisis Can Help You Cultivate a Growth Mindset (HBR) Published on: August 20, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Research has shown that crises can help lift the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra that pervades many organizations, creating new opportunities for people to voice their ideas on how to do things better.
  • Similarly, basketball and hockey teams often show improved performance after losing teammates to injury, because the remaining teammates are able to discover new ways of working together.
  • This growth mindset can serve us — and our teams — well during this crisis. We offer six suggestions for managers looking to leverage the transition to remote work to nurture a growth mindset in themselves and their teams.
Capturing the pandemic for posterity (The Economist) Published on: August 13, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Photographers shooting patients and carers have wrestled anew with thorny ethical questions.
  • Photography, the critic Susan Sontag wrote, “has kept company with death ever since cameras were invented.” This year it has helped tell the story of covid-19.
  • What, for the West, has been an unusually intimate encounter with death has affected views on how suffering elsewhere in the world is portrayed.
Leading into the Post-Covid Recovery (HBR) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • When governments relax restrictions and begin stimulating economic growth, the recovery phase of the Covid-19 crisis starts unfolding for businesses.
  • Intuitively, I would have expected leaders to be driven by the victory rush that naturally follows when the tension of the regression phase is released. But many report having mixed emotions. Their sense of optimism and clarity is laced with withdrawal, loss, and doubt.
  • Further, even though it is an overstretch to compare the emotions of the recovery phase to post-traumatic stress disorder, there are similarities. One of the most common reactions from soldiers returning from battle is that everyday life seems absurdly inconsequential and insignificant compared to the combat situations they have left behind.
Bill Gates is spending $150 million to try to make a coronavirus vaccine as cheap as $3 (Vox) Published on: August 8, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Gates on Friday said that he and his foundation would spend $150 million to distribute vaccines, if they are found, to some of the world’s poorest people.
  • The Gates Foundation is handing the money to the Serum Institute, the largest manufacturer of vaccines globally by volume, to produce 100 million doses that would cost at most just $3 each.
  • Twenty-eight different possible vaccines have progressed to human trials, each of which has different manufacturing costs and requires different materials and precision.
How safe is it to go back to the office? (FT) Published on: August 3, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • It is “impossible” to make the office 100 per cent safe, says Paul Hunter, professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia. “You could spend millions on preparations and then someone gets the infection from the journey in. You can’t legislate for all these transmissions.”
  • The open plan office had a bad health reputation long before Covid-19. People working in them took as much as 62 per cent more sick leave than those in more private spaces, studies showed.
  • When US researchers studied the ventilation system in an Oregon hospital treating Covid-19 patients, they found enough genetic material from the virus to conclude that air-conditioning could potentially help to spread viral particles, though there was no evidence this had happened.
What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication (HBR) Published on: August 3, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • After months of working remotely from home, many of us have found that the daily routine of virtual meetings saps our energy. It is difficult to maintain continuity, connection, and coherence.
  • But we’re losing more than just interest. Not interacting with colleagues physically lops off nonverbal data. Narrowing our field of vision to the small rectangles of our screens makes us lose perspective.
  • Through necessity, the Deaf community has invented a wider portfolio of communication strategies and devices than the hearing world accesses day-to-day. When we tap into this trove of tools, we can reduce the time it takes to communicate and then to correct miscommunications.
‘New Normal’ Emerges for Companies Navigating Covid-19 Pandemic (WSJ) Published on: August 2, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Business executives say they are getting a better grip on what a world transformed by the coronavirus looks like, giving them more confidence to lay out strategies that account for the new reality.
  • “It’s time for us to get back on the front foot,” McDonald’s Corp. Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski told investors Tuesday. He said the hamburger chain initially had to work through the shock of the pandemic but is ready to ramp up marketing. It moved to a limited menu in the quarter, helping to simplify operations.
  • Chevron Corp., meanwhile, is preparing for oil prices to remain depressed.
How to Inoculate Your Team Against Conspiracy Theories (HBR) Published on: July 30, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Around the world, conspiracy theories have flourished, claiming that the virus is everything from a hostile attack, a hoax perpetuated by Big Pharma, or even a side effect of 5G networks.
  • Specifically, we found that individuals with a “promotion-focused” mindset (i.e., those who tend to focus on achieving their goals and aspirations) are more resistant to conspiracy theories than those with a “prevention-focused” mindset (i.e., those who focus on protecting what they already have), because the promotion focus on shaping their own futures involves a greater sense of control.
  • So, if a greater sense of control makes people less vulnerable to conspiracy theories, what can we do in a time of widespread uncertainty to help ourselves — and those around us — feel that sense of structure and control without resorting to conspiracies? Our work suggests a few strategies.
How to Stay Grounded in Chaos (Ed Batista) Published on: July 27, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Managing emotions means regulating emotions. It absolutely does not mean suppressing emotions.
  • A more common term that we use, in my field as an executive coach, is mental models. Mental models are the set of assumptions that we make about the world around us to help us make sense of the world and navigate it more effectively.
  • Under stressful conditions, like those that we’re living in on a day to day basis in the COVID-19 era, we often experience what’s known as a threat response or a fight, flight, or freeze response.
The Work-From-Home Shift Shocked Companies—Now They’re Learning Its Lessons (WSJ) Published on: July 25, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • At its peak in early May, 52% of employed Americans reported always working from home, and another 18% reported sometimes working from home, for a total of 70%, according to a survey by polling firm Gallup.
  • A survey of corporate leaders conducted by Gartner on June 5 found that in the future, 82% plan to allow remote working at least some of the time; 47% said they intend to allow full-time remote work going forward.
  • April and May saw an uptick in consumer spending on laptops and related work-from-home gear.
  • Many companies that were reluctant to spend on their workers opted for a previously obscure subset of the cloud computing market: “desktop as a service.”
Does a Raise or Remote Work Sound Better? (WSJ) Published on: July 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Telecommuting is emerging as a coveted perk. Workers and their companies see the benefits, but how will they feel in 2021?
  • Where the promise of on-site haircuts and bountiful buffets once drew talent to Silicon Valley, and the promise of part-time hours once attracted working parents to flexible companies, staying home has emerged as the hot corporate perk.
  • An experiment that Dr. Bloom did with workers in China in 2009 and 2010 finds that intense loneliness tended to set in by the ninth month.
  • He declares remote work a 2019 perk, a 2020 necessity and a “2022 attribute which some people are going to like and others are going to loathe.”
What Safe Shopping Looks Like During the Pandemic (HBR) Published on: July 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • To limit the spread of Covid-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals practice social distancing. When local conditions allow for retail stores to open, they confront a variety of guidelines that vary by state.
  • These variations are due to differences in the prevalence of the virus, diversity in local attitudes toward social distancing, and political forces. It is also difficult to formulate and implement guidelines that apply to all types of stores because of variations in store layout, customer flow, and the willingness of customers to comply with social-distancing advice.
  • To maximize efficiency and throughput, a store would look like a well-run manufacturing line: Customers would arrive at designated times and shop at a designated pace in order to maintain social distancing. Alas, in real life, customers choose their own arrival times and pace, injecting variability into the system.
How to Get People to Actually Use Contact-Tracing Apps (HBR) Published on: July 15, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Most platforms fail because they never build a critical mass of engaged users.
  • Unless we fundamentally rethink how Covid-19 contact-tracing apps are being designed, launched, and scaled, the vast majority will suffer the same fate.
  • A mobile contact-tracing app can track whom each user has been in proximity to and can then alert all affected users when one of them confirms positive for infection.
  • Some contact-tracing apps can also warn users when an infected person is nearby, preventing possible infection, or even track whether an infected user is following social-distancing guidelines.
Women’s Careers Could Take Long-Term Hit From Coronavirus Pandemic (WSJ) Published on: July 15, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Juggling work and family has never been easy. Under pandemic conditions, some women say it is proving impossible.
  • Opening economies without schooling and child care is a “recipe for a generational wipeout of mothers’ careers,” said Joan Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law and the founder of the Center for WorkLife Law.
  • Women are exiting the workforce at a slightly higher rate than men, federal data show. In March, 57.3 per cent of U.S. women were either working or looking for work.
The Role of Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic (The Atlantic) Published on: July 12, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Dissonance is most painful when evidence strikes at the heart of how we see ourselves—when it threatens our belief that we are kind, ethical, competent, or smart.
  • Today, as we confront the many unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic, all of us are facing desperately difficult decisions.
  • The way we answer these questions has momentous implications for our health as individuals and for the health of our communities. Even more important, and far less obvious, is that because of the unconscious motivation to reduce dissonance, the way we answer these questions has repercussions for how we behave after making our initial decision.
The Upside of Virtual Board Meetings (HBR) Published on: July 10, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • While most boards are still finding that balance, a number of fast-adapting companies have found that virtual board meetings are better than the real thing.
  • The experience of sitting around a big table can be vastly different depending on where you’re sitting relative to the main speakers. With Zoom, you can see everyone’s faces and eyes right in front of you, which has a huge impact on focus, connection, and ultimately decision-making.
  • eBay recently conducted part of its CEO search entirely online and was able to reach a successful conclusion much more rapidly and efficiently than the four to six months typical of major CEO searches.
The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay (The Atlantic) Published on: July 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Many American public-health specialists are at risk of burning out as the coronavirus surges back.
  • Popescu is one of many public-health experts who have been preparing for and battling the pandemic since the start of the year. They’re not treating sick people, as doctors or nurses might be, but are instead advising policy makers, monitoring the pandemic’s movements, modeling its likely trajectory, and ensuring that hospitals are ready.
  • America isn’t just facing a shortfall of testing kits, masks, or health-care workers. It is also looking at a drought of expertise, as the very people whose skills are sorely needed to handle the pandemic are on the verge of burning out.
In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both. (NY Times) Published on: July 2, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Our struggle is not an emotional concern. We are not burned out. We are being crushed by an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential.
  • It should be obvious, but a nonnegotiable precondition of “getting back to normal” is that families need a normal to return to as well.
  • Under the best of circumstances, the impact on children will still be significant. Students will lose most of a year of learning as parents — their new untrained teachers — cannot supervise in any meaningful way while Zooming into the office.
A Guide to Building a More Resilient Business (HBR) Published on: July 2, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • We can usefully define resilience as a company’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive in altered circumstances.
  • Companies have been designed predominantly to maximize shareholder value from dividends and stock appreciation. Very few companies even attempt to measure resilience beyond merely disclosing specific material risks.
  • Resilience must deal also with unidentified risks, and it must consider the adaptations and transformations a company must make to absorb environmental stress and even turn it to advantage.
Will the Pandemic Reshape Notions of Female Leadership? (HBR) Published on: June 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Countries with women in leadership have suffered six times fewer confirmed deaths from Covid-19 than countries with governments led by men.
  • Regardless of how robust the evidence might be, or how logical and data-driven the arguments, add to the mix a change in receptivity of the zeitgeist. A small number of female leaders have emerged as a benchmark for what competent leadership looks like — and been applauded for it.
  • The roller-coaster ride of gender equality over the past few decades may be depressing to some. But this moment, unlike any we’ve ever known, opens new options for the future — millions of them, in fact.
Politicians ignore far-out risks: they need to up their game (The Economist) Published on: June 25, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Low-probability, high-impact events are a fact of life. Individual humans look for protection from them to governments and, if they can afford it, insurers.
  • Virologists, epidemiologists and ecologists have warned for decades of the dangers of a flu-like disease spilling over from wild animals. But when sars-cov-2 began to spread very few countries had the winning combination of practical plans, the kit those plans required in place and the bureaucratic capacity to enact them.
  • Keeping an eye on the future is part of what governments are for. Scientists have provided them with the tools for such efforts, but few academics will undertake the work unbidden, unfunded and unsung.
  • Private business may take some steps when it perceives specific risks, but it will not put together plans for society at large.
Health Care Workers Protect Us. It’s Time to Protect Them. (HBR) Published on: June 19, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Before Covid-19 pandemic struck, the U.S. health care industry suffered more than 550,000 work-related injuries and illnesses per year, or 150,000 more than any other industry in the country.
  • A few visionary leaders and organizations have set out on that course and proven that it is possible. Drawing from their practices before and during the pandemic, we offer five leadership imperatives.
  • Set a goal of zero workplace injuries and illnesses. Setting this target provides moral clarity and alignment and can lead to breakthrough thinking and progress.
The pandemic has shown that Amazon is essential—but vulnerable (The Economist) Published on: June 18, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Jeff Bezos’s vision of a world shopping online is coming true faster than ever. But the job of running Amazon hasn’t got any easier.
  • The digital surge began with online “pantry-loading” as consumers bulk-ordered toilet rolls and pasta. Amazon’s first-quarter sales rose by 26% year on year.
  • Amazon has hired 175,000 staff, equipped its people with 34m gloves, and leased 12 new cargo aircraft, bringing its fleet to 82.
  • Last year Amazon had a 40% share of American e-commerce and 6% of all retail sales. There is little evidence that it kills jobs.
Pandemic stress is bringing out our boss’s nasty side (Washington Post) Published on: June 17, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Reader: This pandemic has brought out an ugly side of my boss’s personality. He publicly shoots down our team’s ideas in a dismissive and antagonistic way, then complains that no one is taking any initiative.
  • Bosses in particular have a responsibility to demonstrate calm, even-keeled leadership and be open to feedback about requests that seem erratic or inconsistent.
  • I recommend an all-business approach. Meet with your boss in private to focus on a work issue that needs solving — but use common therapy tools designed to defuse defensiveness: validating, mirroring, drawing him out.
Learning from the Future (HBR) Published on: June 17, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Even before the Covid-19 crisis, rapid technological change, growing economic interdependence, and mounting political instability had conspired to make the future increasingly murky.
  • In response, many leaders sought refuge in the more predictable short term—a mechanism for coping with uncertainty that research has shown leaves billions of dollars of earnings on the table and millions of people needlessly unemployed.
  • The most recognizable tool of strategic foresight is scenario planning. It involves several stages: identifying forces that will shape future market and operating conditions; exploring how those drivers may interact; imagining a variety of plausible futures; revising mental models of the present on the basis of those futures; and then using those new models to devise strategies that prepare organizations for whatever the future actually brings.
Florida fired its coronavirus data scientist. Now she’s publishing the statistics on her own. (Washington Post) Published on: June 13, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Tension built for days between Florida Department of Health supervisors and the department’s geographic information systems manager before officials showed her the door, she says, permanently pulling her off the coronavirus dashboard that she operated for weeks.
  • Managers had wanted Rebekah Jones to make certain changes to the public-facing portal, she says. Jones had objected to — and sometimes refused to comply with — what she saw as unethical requests.
  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx praised Florida’s official coronavirus dashboard in April as a beacon of transparency.
  • But Jones has asserted that the site undercounts the state’s infection total and overcounts the number of people tested — with the official numbers bolstering the decision to start loosening restrictions on the economy in early May, when the state had not met federal guidelines for reopening.
Social media influencers are balancing ‘authentic’ messaging during protests and the pandemic (Washington Post) Published on: June 12, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • As the coronavirus pandemic shut down life in the United States, the former Olympic gymnast and social media influencer completely changed her plans for two product campaigns and started donating some of the proceeds.
  • Companies spent an estimated $5.2 billion on influencer marketing on Instagram alone in 2019, according to social media analytics firm HypeAuditor.
  • But as with many career fields, the global pandemic — and the subsequent protests that have swept the nation to support the Black Lives Matter movement — has fundamentally changed the way these influencers do their jobs.
  • Authenticity is now a make or break quality for millions of followers, as well as brands who are seeking a way to connect with consumers in an uncertain time.
To protect frontline workers during and after COVID-19, we must define who they are (Brookings) Published on: June 10, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, America’s frontline workers are still valiantly reporting to their job sites and risking their personal health to keep the economy in motion and the rest of us safe.
  • Using a mix of Department of Homeland Security definitions and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, we have found 50 million people who qualify as frontline workers—a majority of the 90 million people employed in America’s essential industries.
  • To protect today’s frontline workers and to ensure the country is better prepared for the next pandemic, the federal government must create a formal list of essential industries and their frontline workforces.
To honour frontline workers, artists are painting their portraits (The Economist) Published on: June 10, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • A woman sits hunched in a bath, exhausted, crying into her hands.
  • They are among the thousands of paintings created as part of Portraits for NHS Heroes, a remarkable new initiative whereby artists create artworks for NHS staff and frontline workers.
  • Mr Croft encouraged other artists to join in, and since then an estimated 5,000 subjects have been matched with portraitists.
The careful economy (McKinsey) Published on: June 8, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • How financial stability, security, and safety are being redefined for an uncertain future.
  • Discretionary spending has fallen, the result of mass unemployment, wage decreases, the realities of living under shelter-in-place orders, and general uncertainty about the future.
  • Looking ahead, consumers globally have a pessimistic or unsure view of their country’s economic outlook.
  • China is a notable exception: half of consumers there expect the economy to rebound in the next few months as the country emerges from lockdown.
How Reskilling Can Soften the Economic Blow of Covid-19 (HBR) Published on: June 8, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Under normal conditions, workers constantly shift between different industries, albeit at a slow pace. However, the Covid-19 pandemic created an urgent need to make labor shifts happen much more quickly.
  • To correct this imbalance, we need mechanisms to assess missing skillsets quickly and rapidly retrain laid-off workers.
  • They quickly decided to design a three-and-a-half-day training program for an assistant nurse role and offered this program to about 1100 SAS cabin staff members who had previously undergone basic medical training, and had experience in dealing with people in difficult situations as part of their work as cabin attendants.
To Solve Big Problems, Look for Small Wins (HBR) Published on: June 5, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • It is tempting, during a crisis as severe as the Covid-19 pandemic, for leaders to respond to big problems with bold moves — a radical strategy to reinvent a struggling business, a long-term shift to virtual teams and long-distance collaboration.
  • I’d argue that even if we do face a “next normal,” the best way for leaders to move forward isn’t by making sweeping changes but rather by embracing a gradual, improvisational, quietly persistent approach to change that Karl E. Weick, the organizational theorist and distinguished professor at the University of Michigan, famously called “small wins.”
  • “The massive scale on which social problems are conceived often precludes innovation action,” he warned. “People often define social problems in ways that overwhelm their ability to do anything about them.”
‘Did I Miss Anything?’: A Man Emerges From a 75-Day Silent Retreat (NY Times) Published on: June 4, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Daniel Thorson went into a silent retreat in mid-March, meditating through 75 coronavirus news cycles, Boris Johnson’s hospitalization, social distancing and sourdough starter.
  • They compared him to Rip Van Winkle, the fictional character who falls asleep in the Catskills and wakes up 20 years later to discover that his beard is a foot long and the United States is no longer ruled by the British Crown.
  • It stunned him to discover that the many and various topics that interested him — global warming, electoral politics, the health care system — had been subsumed by a single topic of conversation, the coronavirus.
Coronavirus: 15 emerging themes for boards and executive teams (McKinsey) Published on: June 2, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • We are seeing some faint signs of progress in the struggle to contain the pandemic. But the risk of resurgence is real, and if the virus does prove to be seasonal, the effect will probably be muted.
  • Boards must strike the right balance between hope for the future and the realism that organizations need to hear.
  • Certain industries and sectors are truly struggling and require support. Several disrupted industries and many organizations in higher education, the arts, and sports are severely struggling and require support to safeguard their survival.
Working life has entered a new era (The Economist) Published on: May 30, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • First, broadband services are today quick enough to allow for document downloads and videoconferencing. Second, advanced economies revolve around services, not manufacturing.
  • Back in the 1970s, when Britain adopted a three-day week (to combat a miners’ strike), there were power cuts and tv stations had to close down early. In other words, home life was severely affected as well. The pandemic has not turned the lights off.
  • Many businesses and employees may thus have had their “Wizard of Oz” moment: the corporate hq is shown to be an old man behind the curtain. Faith in the centralised office may never be restored.
8 Questions Employers Should Ask About Reopening (HBR) Published on: May 28, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • According to a survey of 854 U.S. employers we completed in early April, 42 per cent reported that the majority of their workforce could work remotely — compared to just 14% before the pandemic.
  • It’s best to have workers return gradually, which allows for lower density, making physical distancing less of a challenge.
  • 45 per cent of employers in our survey reported using thermal scanning to identify employees with fevers and exclude them.
As Starbucks locations reopen nationwide, workers question why they should risk their life ‘for a frappuccino’ (NBC) Published on: May 27, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • “We’re not forcing anyone to come back, but it is a managed risk,” said one manager. “We have no idea which customers have been following procedures or who has been in hospitals.”
  • “It seems to be bad to reopen when you have an ongoing worsening pandemic,” said one barista in Chicago who is currently on quarantine after his manager came down with a fever.
  • But even with these precautions, workers are terrified of going to work and say it is difficult to stay safe among eager customers, some of whom do not follow health protocols.
Reflections in crisis (McKinsey) Published on: May 27, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • People said that their highest priority has always been family and their loved ones, but it hasn’t always translated into the way they spend time.
  • For those not struggling with the day-to-day cost of living, the pandemic has created a welcome decelerated pace of life and work that finds people re-evaluating how much income and professional achievement they need to be happy.
  • Good health matters to people across every country, socioeconomic level, and age group in our research.
Our Economy Was Just Blasted Years Into the Future (Medium) Published on: May 26, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • As a catastrophe, Covid-19 itself appears so far to be a hybrid in impact — vastly speeding up some potent trends while quickly dispelling others that people thought were happening but actually weren’t.
  • “There is pressure on all trends, and only the strongest, most vibrant continue to be underway,” said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group. “Only the fittest survive. You have a Darwinian moment for trends.”
  • Ford has outright postponed the 2021 debut of robotaxis and driverless delivery vehicles, saying that the virus could have an unknown, long-term effect on consumer behavior.
  • According to a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 42% of those laid off won’t get their jobs back.
Rebuilding the Economy Around Good Jobs (HBR) Published on: May 22, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • In countries hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, customer-facing service businesses don’t just face a tough two to three months; they face a tough two to three years.
  • Making the challenge even tougher, many of these businesses rely on a “bad jobs” model for frontline workers whose hallmarks are low wages, low productivity, high turnover, and difficulty adapting to changing customer needs and technologies.
  • They need a “good jobs” system that combines investment in people with operational choices in order to maximize employee motivation, contributions, and productivity.
Lessons from the military for COVID-time leadership (McKinsey) Published on: May 20, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • In this article, we offer six lessons that have proved valuable in the military context and that adapt well to other kinds of organizations.
  • Militaries recognize that morale, unit cohesion, mental health, and family stability affect performance.
  • Military leaders are obsessive about planning: they know that the battlefield is always an uncertain environment, so they continually test their ideas.
How businesses should balance risk and opportunity during the coronavirus crisis (Fortune) Published on: May 18, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Peter Schwartz has spent five decades studying the balance between risk and opportunity.
  • But never before has he seen a risk scenario as unpredictable and confusing as the coronavirus crisis.
  • “Something that is really risky has two features,” says Hersh Shefrin, a professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and a leading expert in behavioral finance. “The first is that the consequences induce a sense of dread. Second, there’s a great deal of uncertainty, so we don’t feel we have control.”
  • “Everybody wants to know what’s next,” says Webb, the founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, a management consulting firm. “They haven’t been in a position before where they’re having to make 1,000 decisions a day without any clear understanding of what’s coming.”
Transit workers are paying a heavy price during the pandemic (Washington Post) Published on: May 17, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • The covid-19 deaths were piling up so fast that New York City bus driver Danny Cruz began to worry that no one understood the toll the virus was taking on his fellow transit workers.
  • By Cruz’s count, 129 New York City transit workers have died of covid-19.
  • Across the country, an estimated 430,000 public transit workers, including train operators and bus drivers like Cruz, have kept systems operating, moving essential workers such as doctors, nurses and first responders who have been hailed as heroes.
Coronavirus Vaccine Front-Runners Emerge, Rollouts Weighed (WSJ) Published on: May 17, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Of more than 100 vaccines in development globally, at least eight have started testing in humans, including candidates from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
  • At the same time, pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca PLC and Sanofi are building capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses of their own or their partners’ vaccines.
  • Some, like vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, are based on relatively new technologies that haven’t been approved previously.
How Investors Can Navigate Pandemic-Related Risk in Emerging Markets (HBR) Published on: May 15, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • In a few countries there are already early signs of political instability and civil unrest; in others the political effects will become clearer as the virus and government responses unfold over the months ahead.
  • Business environments in these locations were already complex, but the pandemic makes the politics even more complicated and the relationships and information needed to navigate them even harder to access.
  • Foreign investors will, at a minimum, face two widespread yet underappreciated risks.
Tesla employees who don’t return to work could lose unemployment benefits (TechCrunch) Published on: May 14, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Furloughed Tesla employees who are called back to work could lose unemployment benefits if they choose to stay at home due to COVID-19 concerns, the company’s head of human resources Valerie Workman wrote in an email sent to workers Wednesday.
  • Musk has lobbed repeated criticisms at Alameda County and its health officials for extending a stay-at-home order to the end of May. Over the weekend, Musk threatened to pull Tesla operations out of the state and sue the county.
  • Tesla filed a lawsuit against the county Saturday seeking injunctive relief.
Adapting to a new world (Strategy+Business) Published on: May 13, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought enormous personal, economic, and social damage. It has upended countless lives, and exacerbated the many disruptions afoot, laying bare the unviability of many business models.
  • Its effects are paradoxical. It has caused a supply shock and a demand shock. It is causing a recession of indeterminate length and severity — even as some countries are crawling their way back to recovery.
  • In 2017, we identified a set of urgent, interdependent, and accelerating challenges confronting the world. We dubbed it the ADAPT framework — describing a world in which asymmetry, disruption, age, polarization, and trust were fundamentally changing the way millions of people live and work.
Coronavirus: Musk defies orders to reopen Tesla’s California plant (BBC) Published on: May 12, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Tesla has reopened its only US electric car plant in California, despite local orders against manufacturing.
  • While the state has eased restrictions to allow manufacturing, Alameda County, where the Fremont plant is located, has not.
  • US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday California “should prioritize” helping Tesla reopen because it was one of the biggest manufacturing employers in the state.
Which Covid-19 Data Can You Trust? (HBR) Published on: May 8, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has created a tidal wave of data.
  • However, incomplete or incorrect data can also muddy the waters, obscuring important nuances within communities, ignoring important factors such as socioeconomic realities, and creating false senses of panic or safety, not to mention other harms such as needlessly exposing private information.
  • Whether you’re a CEO, a consultant, a policymaker, or just someone who is trying to make sense of what’s going on, it’s essential to be able to sort the good data from the misleading — or even misguided.
White-Collar Companies Race to Be Last to Return to the Office (NY Times) Published on: May 8, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Google and Facebook employees were told Thursday that they could stay home until next year.
  • The moves reflect the reality that no one is sure how the coronavirus pandemic will evolve.
  • But even after the coronavirus no longer requires it, working from home is likely to retain a significant presence in corporate life.
We need to prepare for the mental health impact of coronavirus on kids (LA Times) Published on: May 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Four-year-olds have playdates through closed windows, sliding their toy cars in unison on either side of the glass.
  • Experts say when kids return to campuses, the demand for mental-health care will be greater than the available services, as the impact of the coronavirus disruption has cut across societal strata, affecting children throughout California.
Millions of Americans will refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, polls say (Seattle Times) Published on: May 6, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • But there’s no guarantee these vaccine efforts will succeed — and millions of Americans seem to be fine with that.
  • The results from a new set of surveys by Morning Consult found that 14 percent of American adults would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available and 22 percent aren’t sure if they would.
  • By a wide margin in the Morning Consult surveys, Republicans (20%) are more likely than Democrats (7%) to insist they would not get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Restart (McKinsey) Published on: May 5, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Eight actions CEOs can take to ensure a safe and successful relaunch of economic activity.
  • The best approach is to develop a detailed relaunch map—country by country, site by site, segment by segment, customer by customer, and product by product—in order to prioritize recovery opportunities.
  • Companies will need to provide products and services that adhere to the most rigorous health and safety conditions, and be able to show or explain them to clients.
The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations (The New Yorker) Published on: May 2, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • What felt impossible has become thinkable. The spring of 2020 is suggestive of how much, and how quickly, we can change as a civilization.
  • We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.
  • It’s not that the coronavirus is a dress rehearsal—it’s too deadly for that. But it is the first of many calamities that will likely unfold throughout this century. Now, when they come, we’ll be familiar with how they feel.
5 Questions That (Newly) Virtual Leaders Should Ask Themselves (HBR) Published on: May 1, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • My intent here is to challenge leaders to pause and identify what they need to do differently not only to sustain, but also to strengthen their skills in a virtual setting‚ particularly during a time when their teams are looking to them more than ever for direction.
  • But communicating virtually requires even more strategic planning because you can’t rely as much on human connection or charisma to carry you.
  • Some people thrive while working remotely, while others may feel a lack of motivation or encounter other unforeseen challenges.
How Should We Allocate Scarce Medical Resources? (HBR) Published on: April 29, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Physicians around the world must make daunting decisions in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Chief among their concerns is that there might not be enough of a scarce resource, such as ventilators, ICU beds, or vaccines, for all of the patients who need them.
  • Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel and colleagues argue for prioritizing the lives of health care providers – providing them first with testing, ventilators, treatments and vaccines – to assure that they can remain on the job or return quickly to it if they become sick.
  • Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, announced that there would be investigations of those who institute utilitarian policies during the crisis.
  • But, Severino failed to provide any alternative guidance for making such tragic choices.
Mnuchin Says Big Companies Should Apologize for Taking Small Business Loans (WSJ) Published on: April 28, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is seeking an apology to American taxpayers from large companies that sought coronavirus hardship funds intended for small businesses.
  • “The owners should be apologizing that they took this, not just giving the money back.”
  • Mr. Mnuchin on Tuesday rebuked companies that inappropriately tapped the roughly $660 billion in loans available through the Paycheck Protection Program and warned that they could face criminal liability if the money isn’t returned.
Driving digital change during a crisis: The chief digital officer and COVID-19 (McKinsey) Published on: April 25, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Chief digital officers play a crucial role in driving the digital changes needed for their organizations to respond to the crisis and prepare for the next normal.
  • CDOs should be considering how to build in work flexibility to account for employees taking care of kids at home by, for example, shifting schedules; ensure access to resources such as tools and information-sharing intranets; educate less digitally fluent colleagues so they don’t feel overmatched by new demands with, for example, brief training sessions; and have frequent touchpoints such as digital town halls and pulse surveys, to gauge people’s mental and physical well-being.
  • While the COVID-19 crisis has introduced significant uncertainty about what the future holds, CDOs can help to develop digital strategies based on scenarios detailing customer behavior shifts, business-model opportunities, and their implications on digital and technology choices.
Leading With Your Head and Your Heart (MIT Sloan Management Review) Published on: April 24, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • CEOs who manage emergencies using emotion as well as logic and intuition find the best results in the short term and the long.
  • Functional smart leaders rely on their survival instincts. Focused on the bottom line, they do whatever it takes to keep their companies afloat.
  • A smaller number — just 10% — navigated crises by relying instead on context-aware intelligence to benefit society at large. Rather than simply reacting to — or leveraging — an emergency, these leaders consciously used intuition, logic, and their emotions to choose appropriate responses.
How the Coronavirus Crisis Is Redefining Jobs (HBR) Published on: April 22, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • By breaking out of rigid job constraints, the right talent and work can be matched to solve evolving business challenges in real time.
  • Many organizations, such as Allianz Global Investors and Cisco, have already set up internal project marketplaces that break down work into tasks and projects that can be matched with people from anywhere in the organization with relevant skills and availability.
  • For example, supermarket Kroger is temporarily borrowing furloughed employees for 30 days from Sysco Corporation, a wholesale food distributor to restaurants that has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
The coronavirus effect on global economic sentiment (McKinsey) Published on: April 20, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • In our latest survey, global executives report a gloomier outlook than one month ago.
  • Two-thirds expect a sizable contraction in the world economy, and a record share predict declining company profits.
  • At least six in ten believe that conditions in their home economies and in the global economy will worsen in the coming months.
How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis (McKinsey) Published on: April 17, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • We have seen a range of responses, from drastic (the complete lockdown of the Wuhan region in China) to more gradual (restrictions on public gatherings and the promotion of physical distancing in some European countries and North America).
  • Yet tremendous uncertainty remains about what to do next, on both fronts. Most national health systems, particularly in some emerging markets, are insufficiently prepared for the task at hand.
  • In this article, we propose two frameworks for restarting an economy. The first is designed to help governments, the private sector, and nonprofits think through when to open their economies, and the second outlines an approach for how to do so.
Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future? (HBR) Published on: April 17, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Visionary leaders like Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Winston Churchill, and Nelson Mandela didn’t simply react to the most imminent threats confronting them; they also looked beyond the dark horizon.
  • It may be hard to see now, but the seeds of the next great growth industries are taking root now.
  • Interrogate what is likely to change about your customers, markets, and operating environment, and what isn’t.
Now mental health is on everyone’s agenda (FT) Published on: April 16, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a mass retreat of white-collar workers from the office to home amid economic turmoil.
  • “Even someone who is relatively healthy mental health wise is going to feel the effects of an abrupt change of their lifestyle: not being able to go out [and the fear of] the unknown, fear of losing their job or having lost their job.”
  • In the UK, Bupa, the private healthcare provider, reports that workplace psychologists are fully booked for virtual consultations and its health and wellbeing advice line has received 300 per cent more calls since the coronavirus crisis unfolded.
Leaked CDC and FEMA plan warns of ‘significant risk of resurgence of the virus’ with phased reopening (Washington Post) Published on: April 15, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response, Leadership
  • A draft national strategy to reopen the country in phases, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes that even a cautious and phased approach “will entail a significant risk of resurgence of the virus.”
  • The framework lays out criteria that should be in place before a region can responsibly ease guidelines related to public gatherings: a “genuinely low” number of cases; a “well functioning” monitoring system capable of “promptly detecting” spikes of infections; a public health system able to react robustly to new cases and local health systems that have enough inpatient beds to rapidly scale up in the event of a surge in cases.
  • Reading the 10-page executive summary of the proposed public health response offers a window into the discussions happening inside the government about how to practically and responsibly ease toward reopening.
  • For example, the document says the first priority should be reopening places where children are cared for – including K-12 schools, day cares and summer camps – so parents can return to work.
Open Innovation in Medical Technology Will Save Lives (EFF) Published on: April 15, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Experts from the world’s top engineering programs have come together to share knowledge about medical technology, hoping to make life-saving treatments more widely available.
  • Importantly, they’re ensuring that patents, copyrights, and other legal restrictions don’t get between that knowledge and the people who need it most.
  • All of this collaboration is enabled by open licensing such as Creative Commons and free or “libre” software licenses, which provide for the easy sharing and modification of the source material.
  • The Open COVID Pledge is a simple pledge an IP owner can take not to assert its patents or copyrights against a company or organization fighting COVID-19.
The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal (McKinsey) Published on: April 14, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response, Leadership
  • For some organizations, near-term survival is the only agenda item. Others are peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves once the crisis has passed and things return to normal.
  • Even before COVID-19 hit, there were signs of unease, expressed in calls for protectionism and more restrictive immigration and visa policies.
  • McKinsey research on the 2008 financial crisis found that a small group of companies in each sector outperformed their peers.
COVID-19: Briefing note, April 13, 2020 (McKinsey) Published on: April 13, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • In this note, we offer some of our latest insights on the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with a survey of the current epidemiology and the five dynamics leaders need to watch: the efficacy of the surge in critical care, the expansion of testing and other traditional approaches, the development of antibody testing, the unknown nature of immunity, and a wave of innovation that might produce treatments and vaccines.
  • The months ahead will probably be quite volatile and dynamic. It now appears likely that some places will experience a local resurgence as restrictions are lifted and economies reopen.
  • The threat of COVID-19 to lives and livelihoods will fully resolve only when enough people are immune to the disease to blunt transmission, either from a vaccine or direct exposure. Until then, governments that want to restart their economies must have public-health systems that are strong enough to detect and respond to cases.
How companies are confronting the unparalleled uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis (Washington Post) Published on: April 10, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • When JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon released his widely read annual shareholder letter, he moved most of the typical charts and discussion about the company’s performance to the end, focusing instead ‘on issues that relate to our current crisis.’
  • His 23-page letter explained how the banking giant was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, detailing different economic scenarios, explaining what it’s doing for employees and customers, and discussing the strength of its liquidity and balance sheet.
  • Communications firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. has been tracking public companies that are withdrawing, suspending or revising 2020 financial guidance and has tallied over 540 so far from news stories, client reports or other publicly available information.
To weather a crisis, build a network of teams (McKinsey) Published on: April 9, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • This dynamic and collaborative team structure can tackle an organization’s most pressing problems quickly.
  • Leaders across industries can’t treat this pandemic like other events they have experienced or trained for.
  • The answer: create a robust network of teams that is empowered to operate outside of the current hierarchy and bureaucratic structures of the organization.
What Impact Does It Have When Leaders Become Sick? (Forbes) Published on: April 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The concept of hero leadership came into its own in 1978 when James MacGregor Burns published his Pulitzer Prize winner, in which he described the transformative leader. Such an inspirational figure was expressed in one of four forms: revolutionary, intellectual, reform, or heroic.
  • The futility of this image of leaders as unbreakable is perhaps never more evident than it is during the current coronavirus pandemic, during which a coterie of political, industrial, and scientific leaders have fronted up to the television cameras, trying to cajole the population to act appropriately to halt the spread of COVID-19.
  • The study gathered data on around 13,000 Danish SMEs from 1996 to 2012, with the data revealing that a five-to-seven day period of hospitalization for the CEO resulted in profitability of that business falling by 7% during that year.
How to Manage Coronavirus Layoffs with Compassion (HBR) Published on: April 7, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Managers are not only dealing with the stress and sadness of having to let go of a large number of their workers, many of them are also feeling underlying anxiety about their own positions.
  • If you’re the one making the decisions about layoffs, Joshua Margolis, a professor at Harvard Business School, recommends asking yourself one question: is downsizing your workforce truly necessary?
  • Even if you’ve presided over layoffs in the past, overseeing them during the coronavirus outbreak will be different for one key reason: they won’t take place in person because of social distancing measures.
Why is B.C. flattening the COVID-19 curve while numbers in central Canada surge? (CBC) Published on: April 7, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • The COVID-19 outbreak is currently more severe in Canada’s two largest provinces than it is in British Columbia.
  • Fisman believes B.C. was able to, as Henry put it, “take a lot of measures early” because they had the lines of communication to quickly scale up a unified response relatively early.
  • At the same time, British Columbia was fortunate that the scheduled spring break for students was later than in other jurisdictions — allowing health officials to adapt.
Facebook’s Road to Redemption Runs Straight Down Main Street (WSJ) Published on: April 5, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response, Leadership
  • COO Sheryl Sandberg says past mistakes prepared social network for coronavirus response; company offers cash, tools to help mom-and-pops.
  • One-third of small businesses in America don’t have a formal web presence at all, according to Ms. Sandberg, but many of those businesses have long had a Facebook page.
  • The $100 million grant pales in comparison to a government stimulus plan, but dwarfs some of the relief efforts set up by other tech companies and many cities. Facebook will spend $40 million of that in the U.S., focused on small businesses located near 34 cities where it has operations.
Zoom banned from New York City schools due to privacy and security flaws (Fast Company) Published on: April 4, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • A few weeks ago, New York City’s 75,000 teachers scrambled to learn how to use videoconferencing services like Zoom as novel coronavirus cases began to rise and schools prepared to close their doors and institute remote learning.
  • Businesses using Zoom may be able to shrug off such concerns, or hope that government oversight will eventually resolve them. But educators are subject to a more stringent set of rules and parental expectations.
Sensing and Shaping the Post-COVID Era (BCG) Published on: April 3, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • COVID-19 and the containment polices aimed at controlling it have changed how we work and what we consume. History shows that such changes are not always temporary—crises can fundamentally reshape our beliefs and behaviors.
  • Societal crises can also have lasting effects on consumption patterns. For example, the 2003 SARS outbreak in China changed attitudes toward shopping: because many people were afraid to go outside, they turned to online retail.
  • It’s hard to predict precisely how it will shape our perspectives on society, but it’s plausible that we could see a greater focus on crisis preparedness, systems resilience, social inequality, social solidarity, and access to health care.
Ensure That Your Customer Relationships Outlast Coronavirus (HBR) Published on: April 1, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to maintain and build relationships with consumers when their world has been upended.
  • Businesses are now facing tension between generating sales during a period of extreme economic hardship and respecting the threats to life and livelihood that have altered consumer priorities and preferences.
  • These strategies are part of what we call the HEART framework of sustained crisis communication. It provides guidelines on what to say — and what not to say — to consumers during sustained crises.
Cuomo could be the leader the Democratic Party and nation desperately need (Washington Post) Published on: March 31, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • The pandemic is Cuomo’s Great Depression.
  • In his daily news conferences, Cuomo doesn’t deflect responsibility, but rather accepts it: “If someone is unhappy, blame me.” Instead of making sweeping, silly statements, he’s hyper-specific on everything from the number of ventilators the state needs to the number of tests administered.
  • He’s a transactional leader who seems to enjoy the absurdity and the fights, and doesn’t mind the tedium if it leads to results. He prides himself on being a doer.
When investors call: How your business should talk about coronavirus (McKinsey) Published on: March 31, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Investors, too, are seeking facts about, among other things, how the global pandemic is affecting business operations, what companies are doing to protect employees and suppliers, what companies’ recovery plans entail, and whether companies have enough liquidity to withstand the pandemic.
  • To address investors’ immediate concerns and reset their expectations, CFOs and other senior business leaders should be prepared to answer questions.
  • To help investors put commercial and operational disruptions into context, CFOs should perform diagnostics on company demand and supply and give investors a preliminary outlook on each.
How Much Should the Public Know About Who Has the Coronavirus? (NY Times) Published on: March 29, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Medical experts say that how much the public should know has become a critical question that will help determine how the United States confronts this outbreak and future ones.
  • American researchers are starved for data, unlike their colleagues in other countries who are harnessing rivers of information from their more centralized medical systems.
  • Health departments in the Bay Area make the case that releasing more granular data could heighten discrimination against certain communities where there might be clusters.
  • Public health depends a lot on public trust. If the public feels as though they are being misled or misinformed their willingness to make sacrifices — in this case social distancing — is reduced.
A 5-Day Plan to Keep Your Company Afloat (HBR) Published on: March 29, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Companies that outlast this crisis will have CEOs who can rapidly assess these new circumstances, recognize new patterns and opportunities, and act with urgency to take immediate action to pivot and restructure their companies. Those that don’t may not survive.
  • So here’s a five-day playbook to help CEOs of cash-flow negative companies, or ones about to go negative, assess the new normal and respond with speed and urgency.
  • Survival = (speed of your understanding of the situation) x (the magnitude of the pivots/cuts/lifeboat choices you make) x (the speed of your time to make those changes)
COVID-19 battle will last ‘months, many months’ as cases soar: federal doctor (CTV News) Published on: March 28, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • Canada’s deputy chief public health officer has delivered a sobering assessment of the country’s struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Dr. Howard Njoo says the fight is far from over, that it could include a second wave, and that we are certainly in it “for the long haul.”
  • One possible glimmer of hope did emerge from B.C. Friday, where data indicates the province’s COVID experience will likely resemble South Korea’s rather than brutally hit Italy.
Lessons from Asian banks on their coronavirus response (McKinsey) Published on: March 26, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Financial institutions in countries initially affected by the pandemic moved quickly to safeguard their employees, transform their operations, and serve customers in new ways.
  • To guide the pandemic response, many financial institutions formed a response-management unit composed of executive-level, cross-functional teams.
  • In defining remote and work-from-home setups, bank executives considered both the level of human interaction required for certain tasks and the degree to which work can be segmented and individualized.
Chefs, DJs, teachers: the rise of the lockdown celebrity (FT) Published on: March 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • On Monday, the first day of the country’s lockdown, Mr Wicks’s exercise class attracted about 869,000 live viewers.
  • While celebrities and influencers have traditionally broadcast aspirational content relating to fashion and travel, now, with travel bans in place and no events to dress up for, social media platforms are producing more everyday stars: DJs live-streaming from their bedrooms, teachers hosting classes over YouTube and chefs broadcasting cooking tutorials on Instagram Live.
  • On Tuesday, for instance, Facebook said in a blog post that users had been spending 70 per cent more time across its apps in Italy since the crisis took hold, while Instagram and Facebook Live views in the country had doubled in a week.
Anthony Fauci Shows Us the Right Way to Be an Expert (Scientific American) Published on: March 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Anthony Fauci has been an extraordinary presence during the COVID-19 crisis: calm yet urgent, informative yet plain-spoken.
  • This is where Fauci shines. He’s showing us how to be not just trustworthy but actually trusted.
  • He is grounded in humility and humanity: he uses plain language; he admits uncertainties and failings; he seems to be at pains to say that he has a special perspective, “as a scientist,” rather than the only possibly useful view; he refuses to make the science overtly political; he is gracious and cautious when offering corrections.
Private hospitals will be made public for duration of coronavirus pandemic ( Published on: March 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Some 2,000 beds, nine laboratories and thousands of staff have been drafted into the public system, Leo Varadkar said at a press conference today.
  • We must of course have equality of treatment, patients with this virus will be treated for free, and they’ll be treated as part of a single, national hospital service.
‘Your NHS Needs You’ – NHS Call For Volunteer Army (NHS) Published on: March 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • NHS England has posted a call for up to 250,000 volunteers to help up to 1.5 million people who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions.
  • NHS Volunteer Responders is not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS.
The coronavirus crisis thrusts corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight (The Economist) Published on: March 24, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • In a pandemic, a chief people officer can make or break a company.
  • Never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss.
  • The pandemic makes people analytics much more relevant.
How to Remain Remotely Agile Through COVID-19 (BCG) Published on: March 24, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Regular ceremonies help bring structure and normalcy to the remote workday.
  • Good leaders look for inventive ways to build a sense of culture for team members.
  • Another method is to assign roles to the team to ensure focus and to encourage engagement. A “rabbit hole master,” for example, ensures that the team doesn’t get stuck in unnecessary discussions. A “zen master” ensures that the team’s energy level is at its best. The “timekeeper” performs timeboxing.
Corona response: 7 questions business leaders should ask themselves (Corporate Knights) Published on: March 23, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • In the face of COVID-19, Canada’s business and institutional leaders can help unleash creativity and a new sense of mission.
  • In particular, leaders and institutions that are not delivering essential public health services need to ask a series of questions – to answer the question, quite simply, of what they can do for their country.
Coping with Fatigue, Fear, and Panic During a Crisis (HBR) Published on: March 23, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • We are dealing with two contagions — the virus itself and the emotions it generates.
  • The fear and uncertainty fueled by the COVID-19 crisis is putting extreme pressure on our finite resources.
  • The consequences include poor decision-making, breakdown, and burnout.
  • We can’t change what we don’t notice, so the first step is becoming more aware of what we’re feeling at any given moment.
  • Rather than catastrophizing about the COVID-19 crisis, you can tap into your adult self, deliberately choosing to focus on what you have the power to influence and letting go of the rest.
Coronavirus: Ontario government to open child care centres for frontline workers (Global News) Published on: March 22, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • The Ontario government announced on Sunday that it will be opening select child care centres across the province to help frontline workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • “We need to help our nurses, doctors and frontline care workers to be able to focus on protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians,” said Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement Sunday afternoon.
  • Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the services would be free and covered by the government.
Doug Ford has risen to the coronavirus challenge (The Star) Published on: March 22, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • As the spread of COVID-19 has utterly transformed life as we know it, it has also emerged as the most profound test of political leadership in a generation or more.
  • From Prime Minister Trudeau to our premiers and mayors, the performances of our leaders have been commendable. But perhaps the biggest success has been the commanding performance of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
  • As the crisis has deepened, Ford is exemplifying the tenets of good crisis communication. He has been transparent and forthcoming, hosting daily briefings which may seem routine, but are in fact distinguished by attention to small details.
Ontario appeals to businesses to help produce medical supplies (CityNews) Published on: March 21, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford is appealing to the province’s manufacturing sector to help produce key medical supplies.
  • The premier says any company that can produce items like ventilators, face masks, surgical gowns, protective eye-wear and hand sanitizers should reach out to the government.
Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus (FT) Published on: March 21, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come.
  • Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes.
  • In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.
U.S. power industry may ask key employees to live at work if coronavirus worsens (Reuters) Published on: March 20, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • The U.S. electric industry may ask essential staff to live on site at power plants and control centers to keep operations running if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, and has been stockpiling beds, blankets, and food for them, according to industry trade groups and electric cooperatives.
  • Scott Aaronson, vice president of security and preparedness at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) said that some “companies are already either sequestering a healthy group of their essential employees or are considering doing that and are identifying appropriate protocols to do that.”
  • “When continuous remote work is not possible, businesses should enlist strategies to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease,” the guidance stated.
Nvidia makes its GPU-powered genome sequencing tool available free to those studying COVID-19 (TechCrunch) Published on: March 19, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Nvidia is making its Parabricks tool available for free for 90 days (with the possibility of extension, depending on needs) to any researcher currently working on any effort to combat the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and spread of COVID-19.
  • Speed is of the essence when it comes to every aspect of the continued effort to fight the spread of the virus, and the severe respiratory illness that it can cause.
  • The more sequencing that can be done to understand, identify and verify characteristics of the genetic makeup of both the virus itself and patients who contract it (both during and post-infection), the quicker everyone will be able to move on to potential treatments and immunotherapies.
Is It Time to Rethink Globalized Supply Chains? (MIT Sloan Management Review) Published on: March 19, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for managers and prompt them to consider actions that will improve their resilience to future shocks.
  • The transformation of supply chains to global multistage production networks took place in a benign environment of falling trade barriers and an implicit willingness to accept increasing interdependence and the associated risks.
  • Over the past decade, we have had a number of black swan events. Although such occurrences are supposed to be exceedingly rare, in the past decade we have had several of them: the introduction by China of export quotas on rare earth elements in 2010; the 2011 Tohōku East Japan earthquake and tsunami; the flooding in Thailand later that year; the U.S.-China trade war; and now the coronavirus contagion.
Where Canada is falling short on its coronavirus communications (Maclean's) Published on: March 19, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • Some key lessons identified after SARS have not been followed, leading at times to sparse details and a patchwork system of basic information.
  • Uniformity in messaging has been tough, too—the premiers of Quebec and British Columbia have used their press conferences to needle Ottawa to take more drastic action to limit travel.
Plight of Retail Workers: ‘I’m Scared to Go to Work’ (NY Times) Published on: March 18, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response, Leadership
  • Dozens of employees staffed the cash registers, cosmetics counter and shoe department. Many were frightened. Three days before, the company said that a worker at the store had tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • The retail industry has endured a recent raft of bankruptcies and closures, as well as the pressure of new tariffs in the past year. It makes the prospect of losing weeks of business to the coronavirus even more chilling for many stores.
  • The Retail Industry Leaders Association, an industry trade group, has been urging state and local officials to not unilaterally declare most of retail, outside of grocery stores and pharmacies, as nonessential. The group said officials should first consult with retailers before ordering stores to close.
The Leader of the Free World Gives a Speech, and She Nails It (NY Magazine) Published on: March 18, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Merkel made no specific announcements and called for no nationwide curfews or additional closures. Yet what gave her address its force was her tone, which was direct, honest, and searingly empathic.
  • Without accusations, boasts, hedges, obfuscations, dubious claims, or apocalyptic metaphors she did what a leader is supposed to do: explain the gravity of the situation and promise that the government’s help would flow to everyone who needed it.
  • She understood how painful it is that just when people desperately want to come together, families and friends have to endure separation.
During a Pandemic, We Urgently Need to Stretch Our Imagination (Institute for the Future) Published on: March 18, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • For most of the planet, our future is already here, arriving first in Wuhan, then Iran, and then Italy.
  • Ten days is not a lot of time to change the future. How can we possibly reinvent virtually everything about how we work, eat, learn, socialize, and live, so fast?
  • In 2008, I was the game designer for a six-week future IFTF forecasting simulation called Superstruct. During this game, nearly 10,000 people worldwide simulated living through five different threats, including a global outbreak of a fictional virus called ReDS (short for Respiratory Distress Syndrome).
  • When the novel coronavirus first came to global attention in early 2020, I thought the most important findings from our simulation were the predictions.
Working from Home…Alone (Ed Batista) Published on: March 18, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • What about people who may be compelled to work from home for an extended period of time and live alone?
  • While groups of people in close quarters need to manage their boundaries to support differentiation, people living alone need to manage their boundaries to support integration.
  • But as an individual who has rapidly moved from an in-person office to mandatory work-from-home you will also hit some rough spots as you re-organize your life in the absence of predictable routines, including “going to work” and “coming home.”
Flattening the Coronavirus Curve Is Not Enough (The MIT Press Reader) Published on: March 17, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Two big challenges await: (1) we need to minimize the short-term (this year’s) cost of the pandemic and (2) we need to minimize the medium-term (after this year’s) cost of the pandemic.
  • Flattening the curve assumes that you actually don’t go too far and that much of the population actually becomes infected and then immune.
  • If you reduce the infection rate too far, then most of the population does not become infected and that means that once you stop policies such as social distancing the virus can emerge once more and we all have to do this again.
  • When China constructed new hospitals in Wuhan in just over a week, this is what they were doing. They did this a month ago and given their stronger infection rate suppression maybe even overdid it.
Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges (McKinsey) Published on: March 17, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • The coronavirus pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on leaders in business and beyond.
  • What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them look ahead.
  • In many cases, the network of teams will include an integrated nerve center covering four domains: workforce protection, supply-chain stabilization, customer engagement, and financial stress testing.
Coronavirus: Kind Canadians start ‘caremongering’ trend (BBC) Published on: March 17, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • More than 35 Facebook groups have been set up in 72 hours to serve communities in places including Ottawa, Halifax and Annapolis County in Nova Scotia, with more than 30,000 members between them.
  • But in Canada, a country whose inhabitants are stereotyped in the media as kind to a fault, helping others has become an organised movement called “caremongering”.
  • Valentina said the rapid growth of the trend was far beyond her expectations, with the Toronto group itself now having more than 9,000 members.
Coronavirus shopping: Woolworths to hold elderly and disabled-only shopping hour (7News) Published on: March 16, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Woolworths will open its doors exclusively to the elderly and people with disabilities for a dedicated shopping hour, after panic buying due to the coronavirus stripped shelves of essentials items.
  • Managing Director Claire Peters said despite the retailer’s attempts to quickly restock shelves, many elderly customers had and an continued to miss out.
The Workers Who Face the Greatest Coronavirus Risk (NY Times) Published on: March 15, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, people with jobs that put them in physical contact with many others are at the greatest risk of becoming sick.
  • Many people who do service jobs like cashiers and fast-food workers face elevated risks. Walmart, Starbucks and Uber are among the many companies that have had workers fall sick.
Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis (HBR) Published on: March 13, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Even if you’re still trying to understand the extent of the problem, be honest and open to maintain credibility.
  • But in an emergency or fast-moving situation, you need a crisis-response team.
  • Many point to the way Johnson & Johnson handled the Tylenol crisis as the gold standard.
  • Johnson & Johnson also established a set of best practices for communicating in a crisis, including speaking early, often, and directly with its consumers.
Shopify is giving its employees $1,000 to furnish their work-from-home setups with whatever gear they need because of the coronavirus (Business Insider) Published on: March 12, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business, Leadership
  • A source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Shopify has given its employees $1,000 each to furnish their home set-ups with whatever equipment needed to work remotely.
  • Employees were also told they are allowed to take home any office equipment, including computer monitors, they need to do their jobs.
Coronavirus: Italy suspends mortgage payments amid lockdown (The Independent) Published on: March 10, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Payments on mortgages are to be suspended in Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s government has announced.
  • Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, said that everyone in Italy would be confined to the area where they live unless they are able to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions, or other limited reasons in order to travel elsewhere.
How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus (HBR) Published on: March 10, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Rapid, coordinated responses require top-down leadership. But adapting to unpredictable change, with distinct dynamics in different communities, also requires decentralized initiative-taking.
  • Person-to-person and bricks-and-mortar retail were severely restricted in affected regions. Agile Chinese enterprises rapidly redeployed sales efforts to new channels both in B2C and B2B enterprises.
  • With remote working and a new set of complex coordination challenges, many Chinese companies took to social media platforms, such as WeChat, to coordinate employees and partners.
Corporate America Races to Respond to a Crisis That Upends Work (WSJ) Published on: March 8, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Employers separate their teams, require personal travel disclosures and offer cash for supplies.
  • On Monday, Bank of America Corp. will begin splitting up some employees on its equities and fixed-income teams between New York and Connecticut, creating redundancy so that if an employee gets sick and a whole team has to self quarantine, a backup team could keep functioning in its place.
  • Stripe Inc., a San Francisco-area financial-technology company, has switched to videoconferencing for job interviews in place of on-site meetings.
South Korea is watching quarantined citizens with a smartphone app (MIT Technology Review) Published on: March 6, 2020 | Category: Global Response, Leadership
  • Thousands in coronavirus lockdown will be monitored for symptoms—and tracked to make sure they stay at home and don’t become “super spreaders.”
  • Now those in quarantine can use the app to report their symptoms and provide status updates to officials.
  • The app joins a repertoire of other measures launched to combat the surge of new cases in South Korea, such as drive-through coronavirus testing stations, which contribute to the country’s roughly 15,000-a-day testing capacity.
Seven key actions business can take to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 (Strategy+Business) Published on: March 6, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • In the face of a global crisis, well-prepared businesses can help protect their workers and their bottom lines.
  • One Asia-based organization’s pandemic plan, for example, designated a European city as the evacuation site for employees and their families — but flights from China to the city were suspended soon after the outbreak.
  • Use scenario analysis: With uncertainty rife, and COVID-19 holding the potential to impact every part of a business for months, scenario planning is a critical tool to test preparedness.
How to Reassure Your Team When the News Is Scary (HBR) Published on: March 5, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Many business leaders are asking how they can communicate uncertainty both internally to their teams and externally to their clients — whether it’s about participating in an upcoming conference or delivering on a signed proposal.
  • Here are five steps we have found to be incredibly effective.
Beyond the Coronavirus Crisis: Prepare Now (Bain) Published on: February 10, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Leadership
  • Tertiary industries (services) took the biggest hit, with transportation, hospitality/food and beverage, and the financial sector all down 3 or more percentage points.
  • While essentials—namely, groceries, nondiscretionary consumer products and pharmaceuticals—will remain strong, offline consumption will feel the worst effects.
  • Proactively update your M&A and partnership plans to include potential acquisitions, divestitures, partnerships and bold moves.