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Stories in time of crisis

Updated: May 27, 2020

How to choose the right narrative and lead your team beyond COVID-19

- How are you?

I asked the person on the other side of my lap top screen.

- I have just temporarily laid 700 staff off. I am not well.

The executive talking to me was not alone. He is a representative of a new specimen: the leader of a company that until last month was planning for a year of great results and is now sweating the shirt to avoid bankruptcy.

The Coronavirus crisis has abruptly changed the scenario for the leaders all around the world and among the things they need to adapt immediately are the stories they tell. Not only a CEO needs to weave the right conversation with her public outside the organization, but she also needs to tell the right story to her internal public in order to help them transition from fear and confusion to a new place, where the company is stable again and so are jobs and personal lives. Failing to do so could result in a cacophony of feelings among the employees and a disastrous confusion as to what the company needs in order to get out of the quicksands.

A well told story can help dodge the perils of the new Corona-world. Great leaders have done it before, great company leaders must do it now. Winston Churchill and Alexander the Great set epic precedents and we may be intimidated by such comparisons. But this are no ordinary times and we are all called to respond to unprecedented challenges with spirit and power.

How can a CEO chose the right things to tell her team?

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By Giuseppe Cavallo

Founder of Voxpopuli, Expert in branding and storytelling

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