Conall

Discretionary Effort

by Martin Royal I was discussing with a friend last week about how, in the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, her 1,000+ strong global architecture company established a crisis management team. They established this team to explore how they would respond to the unfolding crisis. The team evolved organically as different stakeholders were brought in to understand the impact the crisis might have on different parts of the business. The team began holding, and continues to hold, daily huddles to monitor progress, projects, and deadlines and assess any changes. It was a rapid response to the unfolding crisis that allowed

READ MORE

By Eric Michrowski There's an old aphorism that is apocryphally attributed to Abraham Lincoln, which deals with the subject of cutting down a tree. 'Give me six hours to chop down a tree,' the saying goes, 'and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.' Various other versions of the saying exist, changing the times involved, but all with the same central thesis: use the majority of the time allotted to prepare for the task. Lincoln – or whomever the anonymous woodcutter at the root of this statement is – has oft been credited with an insightful observation about the necessity

READ MORE

By KyoungHee Choi COVID-19 FOCUS: How South Korea has come up with innovative ways to control COVID-19 to reduce the length of business interruptions and associated business parallels and applications to help you navigate this Black Swan event? The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a daily topic of discussion and news. From its roots in Wuhan (China), it quickly spread across Asia and then took a quick foothold in Iran, South Korea and Italy. From there it started spreading rapidly across Europe and North America without recognizing borders and affecting individuals across all walks of life and cultures. Now, people are monitoring the

READ MORE

By Eric Michrowski As we navigate through this Black Swan event, I keep being reminded of a book that had captured my attention in my youth. Joseph Conrad’s "Typhoon" presents the story of Captain MacWhirr, a practical leader of few words, and Jukes, a youthful sea mate, as they sail a newly built ship across the South China Sea. Soon into the voyage, the barometer begins to fall rapidly. As the vessel advances into the storm, the savage ferocity of the winds, torrential rains and tempestuous seas begin to attack the ship with incredible force, nearly destroying it. The Captain maintains course. When

READ MORE

By Eric Michrowski The COVID-19 Black Swan event has provided a unique opportunity for brands to demonstrate how they live their values, particularly as it relates to Customers. Some brands have stepped up and demonstrated their customer-centricity in challenging times. Others have tried to pursue profit over Customer loyalty. If history repeats itself, these early actions will have a lasting impact on future profitability. There is no doubt that companies need to manage their finances in order to weather this storm. But those that do that while also taking care of their Customers are most likely to prosper in the future. Let me

READ MORE

By Martin Royal I wrote about what sets apart effective change leaders in a previous blog post, namely their ability to frame the change effort and build the capacity of the team to implement and sustain the change. For the most part, this assumes that leaders are engaged in a planned, thoughtful and deliberate change effort. Sometimes, the change effort is not so deliberate and comes knocking at our door unexpectedly. COVID-19 has driven many leaders into a crisis mode and into an involuntary change effort, that many are unprepared for. Whether it is a planned or unplanned crisis, the fundamentals to

READ MORE