As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our professional and personal lives, we’re rapidly developing new ways to work around the impacts of the crisis.
On Friday, my good friend Tony Leng and I teamed up for the first in a series of HMG Strategy Virtual Briefings. Our second Virtual Briefing, which features Snehal Antani, is set for today at 8 am Pacific/11 am Eastern. Snehal is co-founder & CEO of Horizon3.ai, a cybersecurity startup focused on AI-enabled red teaming. Prior to starting Horizon3, Snehal served as CTO for the U.S. Department of Defense, responsible for transforming the technology capabilities of the command to include cybersecurity, advanced R&D, AI, and data analytics.
You are welcome to attend today’s Virtual Briefing. Here’s the link: https://hmgstrategy.lpages.co/virtual-briefing-snehal-antani/
In my conversation with Tony, we spoke mostly about the need for honest and courageous leadership in times of extreme emergency. Here’s a quick summary of the advice we shared for technology leaders and executives:
1. Be authentic when you’re leading a virtual meeting. People can sense authenticity, and they’re looking to you for reassurance. Great leaders radiate authenticity and honesty, even in virtual meetings.
2. Be a giver, not a taker. Again, people can sense your intentions. Show them you have a big heart and that you are prepared to make sacrifices for them.
3. Hold virtual meetings frequently and keep them short. Assign relatively tasks and quick projects to keep your people engaged in their work. This is a time for using the light touch. It’s okay if the meetings are brief; what’s important is regular check-ins to touch base and reassure people that they’re contributions still matter and that you still value their work.
4. Remember that the crisis will end and that when it’s finally over, the quality of your leadership will be judged by how you act in these difficult times. Make no mistake: The coronavirus will likely be the ultimate test of your leadership capabilities. Be your best self and don’t be afraid to show your compassion.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy, and technology is on the front lines of this crisis. Many of the changes reshaping how we work and live—from employees working remotely to consumers shifting their shopping online—rely on technology. And because technology ties so much of every company together, CIOs have a unique view into what’s really going on and how to manage it,” write Aamer Baig, Klemens Hjartar, and Steve Van Kuiken in an absolutely spot-on McKinsey piece published late last week.
Here are four excellent articles from Harvard Business Review that offer practical tips for leading through the crisis. The articles are short, and I urge you to read each of them:
"Every Leader Needs to Navigate These 7 Tensions," by Jennifer Jordan, Michael Wade and Elizabeth Teracino.
"How to Reassure Your Team When the News Is Scary," by Allison Shapira.
"How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings," by Justin Hale and Joseph Grenny.
"Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis," by Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak.
I also recommend reading this exceptional article, "To Beat COVID-19, Think Like a Fighter Pilot," by Aubrey Clayton in Nautilus, a great magazine that offers a unique perspective on the intersection of philosophy, art and science. In the article, Clayton shows how aerial combat theory can help us manage through the pandemic.