*Emblematic* #10 – Forty-five Leaders Gather To Talk COVID-19 Crisis As Emblematic Goes Live! & A Top 10 List of Insights For Leading Through It


This is *Emblematic* #10. For Days 1 through 9 Click here. Stories of leadership in a crisis. Don’t just applaud – Apply! To see our schedule of Emblematic Live! Events you might want to be part of – Conversations (zoom) about leadership in COVID times – click here.

Beginning on Friday March 27, I took the Emblematic newsletter to the next level. I started convening sessions of 10 or 12 people at a time – on zoom – to seek fresh insights and create new connections; and to talk about what it means to be a leader in a time of such crisis. We’ve now held 4 of these including 45 people and have many more scheduled for the days ahead. You might want to participate. The level of insight and connection, warmth and desire to be reflective, generous, helpful – has been exactly what I was hoping to see and it seems useful so we’ll keep doing it.. For our 10th edition of Emblematic, Everyone has been in awe of the service being given to all by essential workers of all kinds. Here are some fresh insights and ideas that have come directly from those conversations. Thank you for reading, reacting, sharing – and for applying what you see to your own work in a time of terrible sadness and grave concern.

Jane Swift, former Governor of Massachusetts now head of Learn Launch kicked off with this: Leadership in a time like this requires both making sense of what is happening for people and making meaning. And modeling that it is right and good to rely on experts rather than pretending to have all the answers or even all of the questions.

From Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, leader of one of Boston’s key community development corporations (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción)– what do we learn from this as vulnerable people are hit hard. As a society, we have fought so many things from tele-health and federal minimum wage to creating a legal status for undocumented immigrants – we are the richest country in the world – we can get this right. Will we?

Joe Marraccino, financial advisor (Adaptive Wealth Management) – revert to the five most important words “How can I help you” as a way of greeting anyone and everyone. Maybe even keep that alive after we get through this crisis too? Jeff Peres of Epic Games echoed the idea that this is a time for taking time to be empathetic, connected and responsive. JD Chesloff of Massachusetts Business Roundtable and Dave McLaughlin of WeWork expressed the same idea emphasizing the term “value” – what particular value can I deliver not just “to” but “through” my organization, in my role in this unique time?

Sam Gebru of Generation Citizen and Kristen Rupert of Associated Industries of Massachusetts – Chronicle your experience of this time. Jot some things down every night. Keep a journal – who knows what value it will be to you or others in the future. What was the transition to remote working like for you and what might that say about life after the crisis? Andreina Viera of The Vieras noted that her company was 100% remote before COVID-19 and she is curious to see how the change others are experiencing helps them see the value of remote, outsourced business support.

Matthew Grande of Shift Capital – In neighborhoods that had grave needs before this crisis, people getting hit the hardest are once again looking to help others. Those same individuals are in many cases also a week or two away from insolvency and true crisis as unemployment, business closures and all of their pre-existing challenges converge.

Cheryl Kiser who leads the Lewis Institute at Babson College and Joshua Schank who is Chief Innovation Officer for the Los Angeles public transit authority offered similar sentiments:: This is a listening time and a noticing time. Much is being revealed right now in all different ways. Pay attention to what is different. Those takeaways will have importance soon.

Greg Minott of DREAM Collaborative (architecture) and Gjergj Demiraj of Gutenberg Technology (e-learning) both said getting employees to operate remotely was the easy part, and the hard part is making sure their team’s families are safe and that employee mental health is not neglected at this time.

Dominique Morgan-Solomon whose consultancy helps healthcare organizations go through transformation: We have tried so hard for so long in the care delivery space to get payers to more widely accept tele-health and now they are all doing it because the case got made by this crisis in a way nobody could miss or deny. Facts matter. The logic seems to have been this: “Tele-health works, let’s use it.” In the same spirit Ellington Jackson of LendingBloc cautioned about differentiating between information and misinformation – and helping people tell the difference in your area of expertise.

Diane Danielson, COO of a large company with hundreds of franchisees (SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors)– finds that there are many pressing decisions to make with business so challenging right now – and yet every decision on her desk now feels like a moral decision.

Doug Gensler is part of the leadership team of renowned global architecture and design firm Gensler. He offered a powerful framing of the long term agenda: While meeting the imminent, present needs as a first priority, how do we absorb all that we are learning  so that we can be better on the other side? We need a human-centered re-set for the next version of our world.

What are your top insights from what we have been through already – and what you are going through in your organization or business right now? Share them here, or share them with your own team. Just don’t keep them to yourself. And if you would like to join an upcoming session of Emblematic Live! Reach out to us here and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you want to contribute to the discussion. Chances are we can make it happen.

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. How can we help you?

In the US, for the most up to date information about 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.

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