Blog — June 2020

3 June 2020

Curating the Crisis (I)

There's a lot of information overload around during this crisis period. With such a large volume of information and materials about leadership and business topics, one of the executives who attended last November's INSEAD Advanced Management Program (AMP) that I direct, asked me to share some curated links that would be relevant and quick to read or watch. I'll start with some thoughts in posts, articles and videos in the year to May from my colleague co-authors of the Phoenix Encounter Method book.  Each month I'll share more like these—and add recommended material from other sources as well.

Business Management

Ram Charan—writing for Chief Executive in March 2020: “CEOs, Cash and Covid: What Every Company Must Do ASAP”

Paddy Padmanabhan—LinkedIn in post and article in April 2020: "COVID-19, Empty Shelves and the Bullwhip Effect" – Lessons from dealing with past supply chain disruptions can help us mitigate the COVID-19 crisis.  Paddy also delved deeper in an INSEAD Knowledge Podcast on this. See his post and access the podcast.

Sameer Hasija—LinkedIn post and article in May 2020: Make Sure Your Business Lives to See the Post-COVID Resurgence

Technology and Innovation

Sameer Hasija—LinkedIn post and video in April 2020: New Opportunities of Technology

Sameer Hasija with Aarti Gumaledar—HBR article April 2020: Are Robots Overrated?

My LinkedIn posts in April 2020 on Innovation and Creativity-Institutions not Just Products and Services  as well as Crisis Innovation and Inspiration.

Strategic Thinking

The three professors—Ian, Paddy and Sameer participated in the Thinkers50 and Outthinker Strategy Network’s global virtual summit on May 6: Reimagine the Future – How To Rethink Tomorrow For You and Your Organization.  Their presentation on the Phoenix Encounter  method to help leaders reimagine the future of their organizations post crisis can be found at this Thinkers50 and Outthinker Strategy site.

Crisis Leadership and Communication

See my Blog post on this site from last month on Some Thoughts on Crisis Communication for Leaders

My article on virtual leadership presence was shared by my colleague, Erin Meyer, author of 'The Culture Map'.  In a related vein, I made a LinkedIn post and commentary in May 2020 suggesting reading a great article on cross cultural leadership by Paula Caliguiri, on Cultural Differences, the Spread of COVID-19, and the Need for Cultural Agility.


7 June 2020

Leadership and Music This Month June 2020

See my LinkedIn Post from last month: The Absolute Need to Support our Classical Musicians at this time of Crisis. This features video links to some astonishing virtual performances from wonderful musicians around the world during this period of unprecedented isolation and dislocation.

Also, five recommended listening albums for this month that having been helping me:

  • Inspiration: A legendary interpretation to uplift the soul of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Symphony 7, from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Carlos Kleiber, recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in 1974.  Exceptional Beethoven for his 250th birth year celebration.

  • Reflection: The reflective sounds of French composer Claude Debussy and his 24 Préludes — originally written between 1909 and 1913 for piano, and orchestrated in the 21st century by Peter Breiner.  Wonderful playing from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with conductor Jun Märkl on the Naxos label.

  • Happiness Boost: A recent release to energize and refresh in the crisis, try the Orchestral Music of Eric Coates Volume 1 — with John Wilson conducting the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on the Chandos label. British light classical music at its very best. Includes the tempo lifting "Knightsbridge March" (the theme to the historic BBC radio program 'In London Tonight'), the delightful "Miniature Overture" ,and the rarer ballet music for the "Jester at the Wedding".

  • Something Sweet: The astounding conductor Sir Thomas Beecham coined the phrase "orchestral lollipops" to describe short classical works for orchestra that were either uplifting or instantly engaging or deeply touching.  Try one, the opening scene march from Act 1 of Tchaikovsky's immortal "Swan Lake" ballet. A great performance from Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. After playing this miniature let the whole ballet suite go—fabulous music, playing and recording from the Sony label and there is beautiful ballet music by Adolphe Adam (Giselle) and Giacomo Meyerbeer (Les Patineurs—The Skaters) as well.

  • Crossover Diversions: From the unfailing musicianship of the Boston Pops Orchestra and there then nearly 50 year-long CEO conductor, Arthur Fiedler comes a nineteen seventies double album titled, Superstars and Songbooks—Pops by Arrangement.  Fiedler is an idol for me— he is the original Blue Ocean Strategy of classical music, who said: "all music is good if it is good of its kind".  As a business educator and conductor, this advice is spot on. I also had the privilege of co-producing this double CD album with his late daughter Johanna Fiedler for Deutsche Grammophon.  Combines classical technique at excellence with popular music of the time. Fabulous and tuneful song arrangements for full orchestra including: Melanie Safka's "Look What they have Done to My Song Ma"; John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane"; Roger Miller's "King of the Road" as well as music by the Beatles, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, Carole King, the Carpenters and many others.  High quality easy listening background music from its era in full audiophile orchestral sound.

Although I like the CDs of all of these, I've also been listening at home and through my devices to them all through the fantastic classical music streaming service, Primephonic. My Primephonic playlist for the music I've mentioned this month is Playlist June 2020.  I've also created in Spotify as Playlist June 2020. I personally do not use Spotify very muchthey tell me Beethoven is an Artistaltough he was decomopsing more than 150 years before the recording I recommendeda meta data challenge for generalist music streaming sites designed for 3 minute pop music songs.  You you can usually find what you need but takes much longer than real classical music sites like Primephonic - spunds seems more compressed as well through the devices.


29 June 2020

Curating the Crisis (II)

As we come to the half way point of the year, I wanted to highlight some further readings that are coming from the lead consulting houses.

Reflecting on Re-entry

With thoughts turning to post COVID19 re-entry, there is an excellent new article from McKinsey & Company titled: Communications get personal: How leaders can engage employees during a return to work

I urge leaders to read this highly relevant advice as you reflect on the need to be clear, compelling, empathetic and engaging with people who have been remote, and suffering through the stress of this crisis. I’d also urge leaders to think carefully about their leadership presence (virtual – see my article); and in-person, yet socially distant - authentic, visible, open and inclusive - so that your body language aligns with the crucial messages of engagement. Finally, active listening should be a mainstay in all your leadership interactions.

Bain and Company have an important set of inisghts in their commentary: Back to Work

They argue that recovery from Covid-19 will require "resilience as companies advance, retreat, adapt—and repeat as necessary".  An impotant feature of this article is the authors update data based on surveys from workers and comapnies returning to work.


Ian C. Woodward


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