Blog article

Leadership, courage, and the power of collective thinking

As governments around the world take special measures to confront the COVID-19 global health crisis, people are grateful for their actions. In the end, every leader is responsible for his or her own choices, and leaders, at all levels, will have to make tough decisions that have consequences.

What leaders need is courage, including the courage to prioritize. As soldiers say: Those who defend everything in effect defend nothing. If everything is a priority, then nothing becomes a priority.

So I urge our leaders in both government and business to be brave. At times of crisis, it is not always easy to know if being brave and being right are the same thing: The line between bravery and foolishness can be thin and it is often only with hindsight that we know which actions were, in the end, the correct ones. But I still say: Be brave, do something, take

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A test for leaders: Creating certainty amid uncertainty

With each passing day, COVID-19 continues to take its toll on people’s lives, threatening their health and their jobs. It is also creating a challenge for executives that few expected or were prepared for, particularly because it’s been a dozen years since the last economic crisis. Employees are asking questions that leaders cannot answer. When will this end? What will this mean for our company? What will this mean for my job?

And so leaders must respond to the challenge by creating, in their words and their deeds, as much certainty as they can provide, to help pull people out of the swirl of reading relentlessly grim headlines (“doom-surfing,” as I’ve heard it called) to focus instead on their jobs, even with the added burdens of working from home and perhaps looking after children.

Understanding that creating a semblance of certainty is among the most important tasks leaders can undertake

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Leading through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency

The coronavirus crisis is unlike any we have seen in recent memory. Its impact on our collective physical, mental, and economic health has elements in common with the 1918 influenza pandemic, the wave of terror bombings in the early 2000s, and the economic crash of 2008. It’s an inflection point, beyond which our personal and professional lives will be changed in ways we can’t yet fully understand.

Nevertheless, we must persevere. Our organizations need to survive both as vital components of the global economic engine and integral threads in the fabric of social coherence. Many people derive not just financial reward but some of the meaning in their lives from the work they do. They consider their coworkers to be part of their extended family. The workday is a metronome in the rhythm of their lives. Forging a new normal falls largely on the shoulders of those who lead. Regardless

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Transformation requires trust

On December 3, 2019, a remarkable event took place in a hotel ballroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Forty top national leaders from every major political tendency, region, and ethnic and religious group stood on the stage — in front of national and international dignitaries and media, and broadcasting live to an even wider audience — and held hands and read a declaration of the actions they would take, together, to improve the country’s future. The moment was extraordinary because the leaders explicitly demonstrated a capacity and willingness to work together that was in sharp contrast to the violent fragmentation that had persisted in the country after years of political unrest.

They had spent the previous two hours presenting the conclusions of Destiny Ethiopia, the work they had been doing together for seven months to figure out what was possible for Ethiopia by developing four scenarios of the future. The

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Navigating your COVID-19 response

COVID-19 is presenting major challenges to people and organizations around the world. As governments consider the new rules and policies needed to protect their citizens, business leaders are also managing the crisis on behalf of their employees, customers, and stakeholders.

They are confronting immediate concerns, taking steps to ensure people’s physical and emotional well-being and their organization’s ability to weather unprecedented levels of uncertainty. In a PwC survey of CFOs conducted during the week of March 9, more than half said the outbreak could have a significant impact on their business operations (54 percent) and decrease their revenue or profit (58 percent). Business leaders are also preparing for the new normal, by considering the capabilities they’ll need in order to emerge stronger on the other side.

We know that many companies have worked on contingency plans during the last few years, to be prepared for various types of geopolitical or

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What CFOs think about the economic impact of COVID-19

A PwC survey of CFOs conducted during the week of March 9, 2020, in the U.S. and Mexico reveals 80 percent are concerned the coronavirus global health emergency will lead to a global economic recession. More than half believe the outbreak could have a significant impact on their business operations (54 percent) and will decrease their revenue or profit (58 percent).

This outlook is amplifying the pessimism identified by CEOs in PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey. In late 2019, before the first coronavirus cases had been reported, more than half of the CEOs surveyed believed the rate of global GDP growth would decline in 2020. Only 27 percent of CEOs reported feeling “very confident” in their companies’ prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months — a low not seen since 2009.

Amid record levels of uncertainty, C-suite leaders will be faced with daily — even hourly

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