Coronavirus: How To “Be The Calm In The Chaos”
What an executive’s role should be amid the COVID-19 crisis
One month ago, most of us had never heard of the Coronavirus—an unforeseen, exogenous event—now a global news story that will impact nearly every CEO, executive team, and company over the next several months. The risk level in the United States remains low, but the 24/7 news cycle focused on the virus and the images of HAZMAT suits in the U.S. can be overwhelming; the market volatility only creates more uncertainty. Employees are nervous and scared; they are worried for their families, finances and health. We are living through another global Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment. What should be the executive’s role in leading through this crisis?
The Army created the term “VUCA” after the end of the Cold War and focused on creating leaders capable of operating in this new environment. The U.S. military is ranked as America’s most respected institution (Gallup) and develops leaders specifically trained to lead through crises and VUCA environments. These military lessons also translate directly to any executive leading their company through the Coronavirus crisis.
We interviewed Major General (Ret.) Malcolm Frost, a veteran with 31 years of service who has deployed to combat several times in a variety of leadership positions and also served as the Director (Chief) of Public Affairs and Deputy Director for Operations, in which he led planning and operations of the U.S. Dept. of Defense National Military Command Center that performs worldwide monitoring, crisis action, and strategic nuclear and current operational watch functions for our nation’s leaders. During one of his deployments to Iraq, MG Frost experienced a crucible leadership moment with lessons that translate to any executive thinking about what their own role is in leading through the Coronavirus crisis.
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