*Emblematic* Day Two: A Daily Round-Up of Inspired Examples of Organizational Leadership in the #COVID19 Crisis


Welcome to the second day of  *Emblematic* — a daily round-up of inspired examples of organizational leadership in the Coronavirus crisis. Happy St. Patrick’s Day too. See you at the 2021 celebration for sure!

As I said yesterday – we are not here to give out trophies or ribbons to the fabulous.

This is about finding ideas that we can put into work to drive our organizations, businesses, missions, people forward – for impact and to sustain our efforts through this crisis and beyond. Lives are at risk. And so are livelihoods. Time to be of use to both causes. 

Special Efforts By Supermarkets to Serve Vulnerable Customers

Stop & Shop to Open Early for Older Customers. As Lauren Debter of Forbes reports, beginning on Thursday March 19, the northeastern US grocery chain “will only let customers ages 60 or older into its stores between the hours of 6 and 7:30 am. They will be allowed to enter before any other customers when the stores are at their cleanest, the company said. Stop & Shop also said this will allow for a less crowded environment in which it is more feasible to practice social distancing.

Woolworth’s Supermarkets in Australia is doing something similar, also designating special shopping hours exclusively to meet the needs of elderly and disabled customers.

Boston Hospital Totally Refocuses Mission to Address COVID-19 Care

The Carney Hospital in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood will be the first in the US to convert entirely to a COVID-19 hospital. As reported in the Dorchester Reporter, “Carney will become [owner Steward Healthcare’s] model for regionalizing COVID-19 specialty care centers across America. The 135 bed hospital…will be converted immediately to enhance “patient isolation protocols” and “to marshal equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment on site.”

Oregon Hospital Joint Effort Hints at a National Trend of Coordination

With a coming surge of need for hospital beds, Oregon hospitals have launched a joint effort under one command structure. Under direction from Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the plan will put “Oregon Health & Science UniversityProvidenceKaiser Permanente and Legacy Health under a joint command to maximize their capacity to treat the surge of patients expected in the weeks to come.”

Companies Are Getting Closer on Testing Kits & Vaccines

Massachusetts based Thermo-Fisher and the Swiss company Roche have been approved to sell COVID-19 testing kits. Wired Magazine reports that these will be the first commercially available testing kits in the US market. “Officials from Roche…say the company has 400,000 tests ready to be shipped and plans to manufacture 400,000 more per week. Medical-device maker Thermo Fisher representatives say they have 1.5 million of their own test available, and a goal of producing 5 million per week by April. Both companies have promised their tests can turn around results in a matter of hours.”

“Healthy patients in Seattle began receiving dosages Monday of the first potential Covid-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials, a substance developed partly by the Cambridge-based biotech Moderna.”

Here are Some Employment Practices that Are Helping Workers Cope

So many small businesses are “crafting alternative work arrangements…and offering support to uneasy workers,” reports Cameron Albert-Dietsch of Inc. Magazine. One example we could all learn from is Pacific Manufacturing, a private-label sock business is changing the company’s sick-leave policies to ensure that everyone will get paid in the event of extended stretches of illness. Starbucks is offering “free therapy” to all workers” as part of a new program of mental health benefits, according to the Wall Street Journal. No word though on whether you can get it with your latte. A national round-up by Gallup pulled together insights from 100 companies that are worth a glance.

This is for Your Employees, Their Families and Your Own Family

Boston area psychologist Dr. Melinda Macht-Greenberg put out a “top ten tips for parents as we begin living with Covid” and enter a “prolonged period of increased stress and family isolation.” Included is this advice: “An important consideration for kids is that familiarity and routine will decrease anxiety and stress. The sooner you begin this process, the faster your family will adapt to a new normal.”

Union Capital Boston just launched a fund for those in need of financial support due to coronavirus issues. If you live in the Greater Boston area and need help, or your employees or others you know need help, please fill out this form. If you are you able to support the fund? Please donate today.

Support for Small Business is Especially Urgent

The local food economy is generally on a short lifeline – each small business and employee only a couple of weeks away from serious financial trouble. From restaurants & catering to small makers of shelf-stable products and prepared foods, the small business food sector is at risk now. The Boston Globe reports on the challenge, “‘Not everyone, from business owners to employees, will survive when we get past this,’ said Bob Luz, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. There will be significant casualties along the way.” 
What can we do? First – buy gift certificates you can redeem later that generate cash flow now for the businesses. Second – if you feel comfortable ordering in food or ordering products to be shipped, here is a whole list of great vendors here on the Commonwealth Kitchen website. Consider Lyndigo SpiceSweet Teez Bakery and Fresh Food Generation.

And UberEats is waiving delivery fees to encourage us to order take-out. Again – personal decision on whether that makes sense for you or is a need you have. Glad to see UberEats waiving fees and hope they are also taking good care of their drivers.

And did you hear about the Newton Needham Chamber‘s Take-Out Challenge? Great local effort outside Boston to spur engagement with local small food businesses – we can participate if we are near or perhaps replicate it elsewhere if we are not.

Can We Make Public Spaces Cleaner & Social Distancing More Tolerable?

With less traffic in neighborhoods it is an easier time than usual to re-balance the thoroughfares in favor of pedestrianssays Sam Balto, physical education teacher and activist in Portland, Oregon. Sidewalks don’t allow for a 6 foot distance between passing walkers anyway. Are civic leaders open to imagining even temporary adjustments?On the blog CityLabSarah Holder writes that there is no exact science for avoiding germs in cities, but there is lots of scientific information to sift through. “The virus lasts longer on hard surfaces than on soft ones, according to an FAQ out of Harvard Medical School, meaning browsing through shirts at the mall is probably a bit safer than mashing elevator or pedestrian walk-sign buttons. Coming into contact with still-wet mucus is worse than droplets that have since dried in the afternoon sun, says Farley.”According to Washington Post report, experiments are showing that this novel coronavirus can remain viable “for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” So we are all working through the risks. No matter what – use sanitizer with 60% alcohol or more, and wash, wash, wash your hands.

Sage Advice from HBR and BSR on the Big Picture Strategy Front

From global non-profit consultancy “Business for Social Responsibility” (BSR) comes Business Lessons from Phase One of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  BSR’s CEO Aron Cramer leads off with the grave observation that the social contract (aka government) has failed in many ways and companies need to step in to fill the void for their employees and for their customers as well.

Harvard Business Review‘s “Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis” by Martin Reeves , Nikolaus Lang and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak includes the compelling advice, “[d]on’t assume that information creates informedness” and a detailed admonishment to “[m]ake sure your response is balanced across these seven dimensions.” (click to find out how many of the 7 you guessed right).

Did You Hear About Those Penguins in Chicago?

The Chicago Tribune and just about everybody else is reporting about the adorable Empire penguins at the Shedd Aquarium who were given the run of the place once customers were officially barred from entering and the doors were closed. Hopefully they cleaned both before AND after…

Emblematic’s Faves from Twitter

In the US, for the most up to date information about novel coronavirus health and safety, please contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elsewhere please contact your local and national authorities. Stay safe, be smart.

Emblematic is a publication of Emblem Strategic LLC. For more information contact Info@EmblemStrategic.com.

Andrew Tarsy is Principal and Founder of Emblem Strategic LLC. We help leaders have more impact and advantage. What are you waiting for?

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