C-Suite Intelligence 24th April 2020

Winmark's C-Suite Intelligence service providing news, content and research to help leaders across all C-Suite functions address the exceptional business planning and management challenges they are facing.

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Build your team’s resilience – from home
Harvard Business review
Any crisis is also an opportunity to build resilience among your reports. If you successfully implement the tactics offered in this article you just may find that they not only bounce back from these difficult times but emerge much stronger as people and as a team. The key is to focus on two things: people and perspective.
  • People - Know your team’s resilience factors: Three “protective or facilitative factors” predict whether people will have resilience: high levels of confidence in their abilities, disciplined routines for their work, and social and family support. One of the first things you can do is establish a “resilience inventory dashboard,” by checking in individually with your reports.
  • People - Foster resilience-oriented conversations: The most effective way to increase resilience at work is through customized individual coaching. As a manager, you might have guided conversations with each direct report yourself, but these can be time-consuming. We recommend encouraging your team members to have guided conversations among themselves on a regular basis. You might go as far as assigning pairs and requiring scheduled video chats.
  • Perspective - Ask questions: Ask your direct reports what plans they have in place for working remotely longer than anticipated. While they might not feel comfortable thinking about such things, they will weather the crisis better if you help them plan constructively.
  • Perspective - Find learning opportunities: In a longitudinal study, involving about 200 U.S. Navy recruits during training in 2015, we found that when the recruits viewed their unsuccessful experiences as learning opportunities—rather than a string of failures—it also built their resilience. 
Read here for full details. 
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Edelman Trust barometer special report on COVID-19 demonstrates essential role of the private sector
Edelmen conducted a 10-country study on trusted communications sources in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the U.K. and the USA. Here are the key findings from the study:
  • The Most Credible Source Is Employer Communications: “My employer” was the most trusted institution by 18 points over business in general and NGOs; and by 27 points over government and media. 
  • My Employer Better Prepared Than My Country: In eight of 10 countries surveyed, “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than "my country".
  • Government and Business Expected to Team Up:  Neither business nor government is trusted to go it alone. There is twice as much trust in a combined business/government effort than in government combatting the virus alone.
  • High Expectations of Business to Act:  78% of respondents expect business to act to protect employees and the local community.
  • Employers Must Share Information:  Employees want clarity on everything from how many colleagues have contracted the virus (57%) to how the virus is affecting the organisation’s ability to operate (53%).  
For senior communications executives it is time to initiate regular briefings for employees, to provide trustworthy content that can be shared with employee families or community, to reach out to government to co-operate in work-at-home initiatives and to ensure that the company’s social channels are contributing to knowledge and not panic.
Read here for full results.   
Cognitive biases to be aware of to make better decisions
MIT Sloan Management Review
Cognitive decision biases are likely to appear in highly changeable, high-stress environments, influencing decisions in damaging ways. This article lists the biases most related to the decisions we need to make around COVID-19 in the rough order of their commonality and importance.
  • Status quo bias. The status quo bias involves considering the current state of affairs to be optimal and anything different as a loss. The way to push past this bias is to ask, “Would I plan this same event/flight/meeting today, given today’s situation?”.
  • Confirmation bias. With this bias we pay more heed to information that supports our own views. The key to avoiding confirmation bias is to seek out sources that may contradict your biases and that are well supported by respected information sources.
  • Availability heuristic. In general, it’s more useful to pay attention to the data about a situation than to highly available anecdotes.
  • Framing effect. One of the most powerful influences on any decision is how the issue to be decided is framed. Binary, either/or framing is often suboptimal. If possible, consider multiple different framings of the same decision, ideally some with nonbinary outcomes.
  • Bandwagon effect. During the pandemic’s course, you’ll notice various ideas rising and falling in what dominates the conversation. The nature of these topic-of-the-moment dialogues is that they often grow fast and full of inaccuracies until clearer thinking shuts them down.
  • Hostile attribution bias. When others don’t agree with us in a time of high stress, we tend to attribute hostile intent to them. Assume the best intentions unless you have firm evidence otherwise.
  • Neglect of probability. Many lay people are uncomfortable with probabilistic thinking, and have a strong preference for absolute judgments.
  • Normalcy bias. Normalcy bias is the belief that things will continue to go as they have gone in the past, which leads to an unwillingness or inability to plan for unforeseen circumstances. This particular bias is perhaps the most important one to remember in thinking about a future beyond the current crisis.  
Knowing about decision biases doesn’t necessarily mean that any of us can identify our own biases. We can, however, ask other people to point them out to us. And if organisations have systematic discussions of decision processes before making their choices, individual decision-makers may realize that they have fallen into a bias.
Read here for full details.   
19 CEOs share their strategies for leading in a crisis
19 founders and CEOs share how they’re approaching leadership during this time of uncertainty—so we can all learn from their experiences.
Read here for full details.

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