Primary Research

Primary Research

 

Diane Mulcahy was recently interviewed for an article in Vogue Business magazine. The topic — should fashion freelancers unionise?

The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light the lack of protection of freelancers and independent workers in the UK and US, forcing governments to adjust their policies to include them in income support schemes and sick leave.

The crisis has also accentuated solidarity and camaraderie between fashion freelance workers, who have started to think about unionisation and self-organising.

While organisations lobbying the government for the fashion sector and protecting freelancers exist, some think a formal protecting body specifically dedicated to fashion independent workers is needed to address industry-specific issues.

Patrick Clark (pictured above), a self-employed fashion stylist and writer based in Paris, has gone six weeks with no work during the global pandemic, as jobs were cancelled as soon as the lockdown was announced in France on 17 March. Clark is one of many freelance fashion workers, including stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists and models, who have suddenly lost their sources of income since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the world, forcing countries to enact lockdowns and strict social distancing measures that have made fashion shoots and productions impossible.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Present and future representation
  • Organisation through camaraderie

 

Read the full article, Should Fashion Freelancers Unionize, on VogueBusiness.com.

 

 

Dan Markovitz identifies issues that may arise in the workplace when some remote employees return to the office and others don’t. He also provides a few key tips to help maintain team cohesion.

A client of mine has started to bring some of their employees back into the office. They’re not ending their work from home policies, but increasingly higher ranking staff are coming back to the mothership, particularly for important meetings. 

This shift makes sense for many reasons, but it’s having three unfortunate side effects. First, the work from home employees are beginning to have middle school flashbacks, where they’re definitely not part of the cool crowd, and they have to eat lunch at the cafeteria table with the dweebs. Second, they are, in fact, being left out of many discussions and decisions — not out of malice, but simply out of benign neglect. When everyone is working from home and meetings are conducted by Zoom it’s easy to remember to bring everyone to the virtual table. But when you’re in the office, it’s even easier to forget your cohorts who are laboring at home and just have the meeting with the people who are physically present. Third, the remaining work from home employees are missing out on the incipient burbling of water cooler conversations. This is bad for morale and bad for business. 

 

Key points include:

  • Team alignment
  • Team morale
  • Visual tools to help engage remote employees

 

Read the full blog post, Don’t Let this Happen to Your Work from Home Colleagues, on the Markovitz Consulting website.

 

 

In today’s fast-paced world focused on productivity, Geoff Wilson shares a short post and a poignant reminder on the importance of doing nothing and how it can benefit business.  

Albert Einstein once said that the reason he was so good at thinking about time and space was that he was delayed in his childhood development to the degree that he forgot to forget about such wondrous things as an adult.

The direct quote is this:

‘I sometimes ask myself how it came about that I was the one to develop the theory of relativity. The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about problems of space and time. These are things which he has thought about as a child. But my intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had already grown up.’

So, what’s the implication of this reflection from one of the greatest minds of all time for us management scientists?

I think it’s this: Protect time to “wonder.”

There’s no doubt that in today’s environment you are being tackled by the urgent. That customer or vendor issue is way, way more urgent than the chance to stop and think about structural changes in your market. But is it more important? I’m not sure.

 

Read the full article, Stay a Little bit Childish, on Wilson Growth Partners’ website.

 

 

As the disruption continues, many businesses struggle to retain their employees. This post from David Burnie’s company provides strategies that can help keep employees on board, engaged, and motivated.

Happy, successful employees are critical for a successful company. While companies must consider how to retain employees at the best of times, employee retention is an especially pressing topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario continues social distancing indefinitely, maintaining an engaged staff will offer a sense of stability to companies amid flux.

How can companies retain top talent to ensure maximum productivity, motivation and success?

Employee retention strategies can be implemented by employers to ensure that employees feel valued and engaged, even with current remote working practices. This can support lower turnover rates, higher productivity and improved organizational performance.

 

Suggestions included in this article:

  • Recognition programs
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Health, safety and wellness programs
  • Communication 

 

Read the full article, Employee Retention Strategies During COVID-19, on the Burnie Group website.

 

 

Andrew Hone’s company blog explains why cost reduction programs often fail. 

Although cost reduction programs can deliver a powerful mix of financial, strategic, and organisational benefits, the failure rates of these types of programs are very high. A recent survey of C-Suite executives, for example, found that while 90% of businesses had attempted to implement a cost reduction program, 75% failed to meet their targets, and 44% missed them by more than half.

Drawing on some of the key insights from our new report, the Agile Cost Advantage, in this article we consider some of the main reasons why cost reduction programs are so difficult to get right.

The reasons for cost reduction program failure can be complex, and of course depend of the specific circumstances of each cost reduction program. In general though, we see a number of recurring themes behind these causes of failure.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Unrealistic targets
  • Cost cuts
  • Execution challenges
  • Loss of momentum

 

Read the full article,  Why do cost reduction programs fail so often? on the Zenith Strategy Associates website. 

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Michael Janov with Azurite Consulting. Before joining Azurite Consulting, Michael spent 5 years with McKinsey & Company as an Engagement Manager working out of their Sydney, New York and London offices. There he devoted his time to M&A Transactions and Merger Management with a strong passion for B2B and Industrial sector work.

Michael previously worked in the Group Strategy team at Qantas Airways, where he led multiple teams in redefining the domestic strategy – stretching from network optimization and fleet management, through to embedding the first Group-wide customer strategy.

He holds an M.B.A from INSEAD, as well as a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UNSW. He enjoys playing soccer, snowboarding and cooking in his free time and is in the midst of transitioning from London to New York with his wife.

Michael joins Eli Diament and the team at Azurite Consulting. Azurite Consulting is the leading provider of unique primary research to private equity firms, hedge funds, large enterprises and portfolio companies in the B2B space. With a 100% track record and repeat clients, Azurite consistently delivers unique datasets of niche, difficult-to-find respondents in high volume and obsessively high quality.

Michael and Azurite are happy to collaborate with anyone at the crossroad of primary research and B2B to provide clients the highest level of conviction in their decisions.

 

Diane Mulcahy explains why the current model of the office worker is difficult to change despite the evidence of increased productivity from the remote worker.

No one expected (or wanted) remote work to scale because of a virus and subsequent global pandemic. But, here we are. 

The battle for remote work has been ongoing. Employees want the choice and flexibility to work outside the office at least some of the time, but many companies and even more managers resist it. Will this short-term (at minimum) and large-scale experiment in remote work change that?

It’s hard to argue any other outcome. Once companies have the processes and tools in place, and the results of weeks, or even months, of remote working, it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. 

That’s a good thing. The notion of mandatory daily employee attendance in the office is already obsolete. Not one – not one! – study suggests that working in an office eight hours a day, five days a week maximizes employee productivity, satisfaction, or performance. In fact, any data that exists on work in an office reveals that most employees aren’t engaged, waste a lot of time in the office not working, and that employee underperformance is a persistent problem, despite the omnipresence of management. Even worse, the direct costs of maintaining the traditional office-based workplace are high. CBRE estimates that the typical company in the U.S. spends upward of $12,000 per employee per year for office space. It’s hard to find a return-on-investment case for office space, and much harder still to find any company that makes a compelling one.

 

Included in this article:

  • Links to studies on remote workers
  • Key drivers of daily office attendance
  • Quality of work

 

Read the full article, Remote Work Is The New Norm. Will It Last?, on the Forbes website.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shares expert tips on how to build revenue through a subscription business model. 

I’ve been noticing something funny recently.

As I make my rounds being interviewed by podcasters, influencers and subject matter experts, the conversations turn from ‘advice for listeners’ to ‘advice for the host.’

In other words, these solopreneurs, subject matter experts, and social media celebrities are trying to figure out how to build a viable, profitable business around their own community and expertise. They’re not just trying to provide useful information to their audiences–they’re struggling with their own revenue model.

Don’t underestimate the power of the “forever transaction” for small businesses.

Subscriptions can be a powerful tool for virtually any organizations–public, private, big, small, venture-backed, family-owned, non-profit, old, emerging, and across all industries. It can be a particularly effective tool for the smallest businesses.

This week, I presented my work to several hundred small business owners through BNI Global, and was inundated with questions. They wanted to know how to apply the principles to their accounting firms, restaurants, car washes, real-estate businesses and solo-consultancies.

Membership models and subscription pricing work great for most small businesses, subject matter experts and even celebrity influencers.

 

Included in this article:

 

  • Identifying  the value
  • Segmenting the audience
  • The ROI of Free and Freemium

 

Read the full article, How Influencers, Subject Matter Experts and Small Business Owners Can Build Subscription Revenue on LinkedIn.

 

 

Luiz Zorzella takes an adventurous look at two choices innovation-based businesses may or may not choose to pursue to illustrate how emotion is an underlying driver of innovation. 

Companies that decide to compete on innovation-based businesses have 2 potential paths to choose from: with or without “emotion”.

Years ago, my wife and I traveled to the NorthEast of Brazil. There, we went on a tour on the sand dunes on a buggy.

Fifteen minutes into the tour, I was convinced that that was going to be the high point of our trip. The dunes were beautiful, the tour was fun and the driver knew exactly where to stop to get the best pictures.

Then he turned to us and casually asked: ‘so… with or without ‘emotion’

He can speak in code because most tourists already know what it means: do you want to continue the rest of the tour like the first fifteen minutes (which were great) or do you want him to ride the dunes like a lunatic, flipping the buggy and sliding large dunes sideways? That is the “with emotion” option.

Companies that decide to compete on innovation-based businesses have 2 similar options:

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • The two choices
  • The pros and cons of each choice
  • The most commonly preferred option

 

Read the full article, The Exciting Path Of Strategic Innovation, on the Amquant website. 

 

 

On June 17, Barry Horwitz  will be giving a webinar with a colleague, CL Tian who runs a digital marketing firm called PINKOA.  The webinar “Shifting Focus from Surviving to Thriving:  Strategy and Tactics.” The webinar will be hosted by TechNetworks of Boston and includes a free virtual Nonprofit Roundtable session.

Sign up for the webinar, Shifting Focus From Surviving To Thriving: Strategy And Tactics, on the TechNetworks of Boston website.

 

 

 

Aneta Key shares a new video in her series on video conferencing. This week: brevity.

During the recent series of workshops about online meetings, I realized that as we reimagine how we lead meetings online, some fundamentals are unchanged.  So, I give you the second video of what may become a series on the topic with simple ideas that apply for any type of meeting. 

Enjoy and share with colleagues who may benefit from it.

 

Included in this video:

  • Rambling
  • Roaming
  • Respect

 

 

Watch the video, Simple Ideas for Better Meetings, on the Aneta Key website. 

 

 

Eric Hiller provides a short introductory article and a link to a forthcoming webinar on Thursday, May 28, 2020, that explains how to keep a supply chain up and running during COVID-19 and into the future. 

The old world…

So, you had a supply chain, and you thought it was pretty “optimized.”

Yeah, you could improve it here and there, but you had wrung out 95%+ of the addressable waste.

To really make progress, you would need to make MAJOR changes (new suppliers, locations, etc.), but there just is always other stuff to do.

The new world…

Then Corona happens!!!!

Your tidy and luxurious platform is now burning.

Now you have no choice but to DO SOMETHING different.

Cost was really important and you thought delivery and quality were assured.

Now delivery is a huge problem (maybe quality too.)

The future world…

What do you do short term?  What do you set up in the future to stop this from happening again?

 

Read the article, Corona Supply Chain Blues — what to do about cost, when delivery is a problem, and find links to the webinar on the Hiller and Associates website.

 

 

Davide Gronchi provides two simple tools that can help collect answers to powerful questions.

Advanced analytics and machine learning are some of the ready-to-use technologies that help discover correlations and drive conclusions out of complex data sets that often describe our business and production processes. This is very helpful to take decisions aiming to prevent something unwanted to happen e.g., set process parameter to X in order to obtain product spec within tolerance.

There are many other opportunities to eliminate “waste” out of business processes that don’t require complex tools and data scientist skills but “just” common sense and good leadership. Solving problems should always start with a clear definition of “what is the problem?” Often we mix up the symptoms with the root causes, by doing so we look for solutions to the symptoms but don’t eliminate the root cause. Guess what? The problem will be back very soon…

Following a structured problem-solving approach is not difficult but requires discipline and asking the right questions, what we call “powerful questions“. These are questions that make people thinking, typically open questions that require an articulated answer, not just a binary yes/no.

Asking powerful questions should be one of the core skills of good leaders: not solving problems themselves but helping their teams to do so. I believe many have forgotten this and risk to lead teams in endless problem solving rounds without sustainable and substantial results.

 

Included in this article:

  • Fishbone diagram
  • Pareto chart

 

Read the full article, The Simple Art of Problem Solving, on the Growing Operations Advisors website.

 

 

When building a bicycle for his daughter, Azim Nagree was reminded of the importance of two key components of best practices: process and documentation.

Last week, my daughter turned 4 and I found myself, late at night, trying to build her new birthday bike. The task would have been made easier if the instructions were decent, but unfortunately, they were written poorly so I ended up just trying to figure it out myself. What should have been a one hour project ended up consuming 3 hours of my time, as well as most of my patience and sanity (why would part A connect to part F – doesn’t it make sense for A to connect to B?!?)

As I struggled with the joining the “G-Connector Bracket” to the “U-Slide” but making sure that the “Circle Washer” was in the right place, I realized how this same struggle applies to the workplace. When someone is faced with doing something for the first time, we oftentimes do not set them up for success – instead, we let them either figure it out on their own or rely upon the dissemination of tribal knowledge (i.e. they ask one of their peers who gives them verbal guidance on how to do that particular task).

 

Included in this article examples of:

  • Processes
  • Documentation
  • Implementation

 

Read the full article, How Building a Bike Reminded Me of the Importance of Scaling, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Alex Sharpe takes a look at where we are, where we’re going, and why history can help us identify possible opportunities.

The CORONA Virus is rocking our worlds – no doubt. It is a scary time with lots of uncertainty. Fortunately, times like this cause a disruption which also means opportunity. For many of us that is not easy to hear as we watch businesses struggle and industries change. It is even harder as we hear about the loss of life and we watch the stress placed on the healthcare system. Business owners and entrepreneurs are starting to ask questions like

‘What opportunities will exist that did not exist before?’

‘What voids can I fill for customers in a post-pandemic world?’

‘How do I keep my staff engaged if this goes on for another 2 months?’

‘I just started a new business. Should I stick with it?’

 Spoiler alert, history tells us situations like this, afford a great opportunity. 

 Do not miss out. Opportunity is knocking.

 

Included in this article:

  • Isaac Newton
  • Warren Buffet
  • Apple, Microsoft, Disney

 

Read the full article, Disruption – What a Great Time to Pivot, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Boris Galonske offers direction on how to navigate the effects of COVID-19 in the form of a detailed outline of a playbook. 

The coronavirus exposes critical infrastructure to a risk environment which is unprecedented in recent history. In order to maintain resilient operations establishing a playbook how to run critical infrastructure these days is key.

Situation today

A pandemic has been part of risk inventories of large corporations for several years. However, the accelerating speed with which the coronavirus spreads across global regions comes as a surprise. Research organisations and networks uncover new facts almost on a daily basis.

Medical researchers fast-track efforts to come up with medical interventions which in the best case will be available by year end.

Politicians and financial experts carve out policy mechanisms targeted at coping with the economic consequences of the pandemic – short-term and longer-term.

Although corporations also need to review their exposures and identify mitigation mechanisms, maintaining robust operations of critical infrastructure (e.g. IT, chemical plants, utility assets, power plants, chemical plants & sites, …) today is critical.

Hence, as vulnerability of operations increases, stabilising the management response and reducing complexity is key in order to maintain operational resilience.

 

Information provided in this article:

  • What stakeholders expect
  • How risks materialize
  • Staying in control
  • How to proceed

 

Read the full article, Weathering the storm – Establishing a playbook for critical infrastructure operations, on the Silverberg website. 

 

 

Paul Millerd’s latest newsletter explores four questions surrounding the state of work, schools, and creativity and shares unexpected thoughts on the future of work.

The US has lost 38 million jobs. Some of those may come back. Many will not. Going into 2021, the US will likely have the highest unemployment rate in the last 100 years.

I’ve written quite a bit about the fragile labor economy and believe the gaps I’ve written about have become more visible than ever.

Here are the questions I’m thinking about for the next year.

#1. What happens when work doesn’t seem a necessary part of our lives?

In Max Weber’s famous treatise on Capitalism published in the 1800’s, he argued that a central element that enabled capitalism to emerge and succeed starting in the 1500s was the fact that so many people eventually developed a “spirit” for capitalism.

Many people incorrectly equate this spirit as greed, but as Weber points out, greed is timeless and universal not a product of capitalism.  It has been seen at all times in history and in all types of economic systems.  Instead Weber suggests that capitalism might have become so effective because of its ability to restrain greed: 

‘Capitalism may even be identical with the restraint, or at least a rational tempering, of this irrational impulse.’ 

By channeling this natural human urge into work, it can theoretically benefit not only the greedy person, but society at large.  

What then motivates work?

 

Included in this article:

  • How does unstable work relate to how people think about the future?
  • How will the cross-generation disconnect be resolved?
  • What is the role of making stuff and our relationship to optimism and the future?

 

Read the full article, Four Work Questions, Alternative Path Stories, Facebook’s Deeper Game & Creativity, on the Boundless website.

 

 

Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change. 

“You’ve heard it countless times before: 

‘People don’t like change.’

‘Change is hard.’

‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’

‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’

You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.)

Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is that right now—in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak—they’re less relevant than ever. If you want to make a change at your organization, now’s the time to do it. 

The habits that people develop are like ruts in a dirt road. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking on that road, it’s really tough to get out of the ruts. You get stuck in the well-worn grooves that you or others have formed over the years. Which pant leg do you put on first? Do you brush first and then floss, or floss and then brush? How do you interlace your fingers? Good luck changing any of those habits. 

Except. 

Except when a flood washes out the road and you (and everyone else) is forced to bushwhack across new territory. Everything is thrown into turmoil, and the old habits no longer apply. When the road is gone, so is the rut.

 

Read the full article, Covid-19 Is The Best Thing To Happen To Your Company. Seriously., on the Markovitz consulting website. 

 

 

Jennifer Hartz shares encouraging words on how the current COVID-19 situation provides the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve. 

Obviously, #COVID19 creates a number of significant problems in the world, our country, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools. This temporary situation, current trend, or permanent transformation is challenging. So, let’s look at the opportunities for people working or learning remotely or not employed full time to improve their lives as well as others’.

REMOTE WORK IS EXPANDING

Twitter announced that most employees don’t ever have to go back to the office. “Continue working from home, or anywhere else that makes them happy and productive, forever.” Google and Facebook have extended work from home (WFH) through the end of 2020. California State University Campuses will not open for Fall Semester; on-line classes continue.  Certainly, these organizations are not going to be alone in their shift from traditional offices and classrooms.

SADLY, UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT IS EXPANDING TOO

 

Read the full article, No Commute? Time for Service!, on the CorporateHartz website. 

 

 

David Fields explains how to maximize the benefits of video conferencing by encouraging clients to give a testimonial. He provides five stellar tips, including questions to ask to ensure you make the most of the moment. 

Your consulting firm’s prospects and clients are settling into the video call format. Other than the relationship-building advantages of video, has this newly-accepted communication medium ushered in any valuable opportunities for your consulting firm?

You betcha.

Video testimonials are where it’s at.

Any testimonial from a happy client builds credibility for your consulting firm.

However, since most people trust what they see more than what they read, videos of people earnestly extolling your consulting firm’s virtues pack a particularly powerful punch.

Also, clients who record testimonials for you are more likely to hire you again and recommend you.

 

The five tips include:

  • Stage setting
  • Directing the response
  • Camera direction
  • Reenactments

 

Read the full article, 5 Pro Tips For Transforming A Lockdown Into Killer Testimonials on David’s website. 

 

 

Martin Nel shares his synthesis on recent events and data that have informed his outlook on how COVID-19 will affect major players in Canadian Retail Banking.

Covid-19: When will it end? What will be the damage to the economy? What will be the impact on the major players in Canadian Retail Banking? 

Looking at the S&P 500 over the last few weeks, it seems that it will all be over soon, with limited economic damage. Let’s call this the mild outcome.

A Reuters poll of 25 economists says the Canadian economy will shrink by 27.5% this quarter. In April the US growth in unemployment equals the total working population of Canada (~20 million people). Per The London Times Britain is on course to suffer its worst recession for 300 years. Economic indicators say this will go on for quite a while and the damage to the economy will be significant. I’ll call this the severe outcome.

Now, the efficient markets hypothesis says that stock prices reflect all available information and is therefore the best possible prediction of the future. There is also a view that stock markets are driven by irrational human psychology, amplified by trading algorithms. Then again, economic data is reported by publications and neutral stories don’t attract eyeballs or win Pulitzer prizes. 

Bottom line: We don’t know which scenario will materialize.  

So, let’s look at both scenarios and the impact on Canadian Retail Banking.

 

Included in this article:

  • De-globalization
  • Delinquencies and losses
  • Home prices

 

Read the full article, Covid-19 and Canadian Retail Banking – Things are not looking too bad for the Dinosaurs, on the NelInc.ca website.

 

 

Christophe De Greift identifies the problem of low data literacy and shares four rules that can improve statistical data during COVID-19 and our understanding of the situation. 

The world was caught off guard by a new virus that we are still trying to understand. If we turn to official sources to find answers to our questions, we often find graphics that are not very relevant and even misleading about COVID-19. In the era of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, we continue to suffer from low data literacy in institutions and circumstances where decision-making based on reliable data should take precedence…

Hoping to see a rapid improvement in the official sources of communication on the health situation, I recall below some basic quality criteria for statistical communication, and I illustrate each criterion with an example recently found in official sources – anonymous so as not to hurt sensitivities – as well as a proposal for improvement.

 

The four rules covered are:

  • Key questions
  • Comparisons
  • Interpretation
  • Building Indicators

 

Read the full article, 4 Rules to Improve Our Statistical Communication in COVID-19 Time, on Christophe’s blog.

 

 

David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan. 

A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business.

We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the common pitfalls to look out for when executing business continuity plans.

 

The mistakes covered in the article include:

  • Business continuity preparation
  • Leadership
  • Communication approach
  • Processes
  • Systems failover
  • Budget

 

Read the full article, 21 Things Companies Do Wrong When Executing Business Continuity Plans, on the Burnie Group website. 

 

 

Luca Ottinetti provides an article that reflects on past recessionary crises to help business leaders move through the current situation productively with examples of strategies from TMSC, Ford, AB InBev, Home Depot, and Verizon among others.

Managing through a recessionary crisis requires more than laying low and waiting for the storm to blow over. It takes proactive management to prepare and then take advantage of the general economic weakness.

Recessions come from different starting events, for example (1) stagflation from OPEC’s quadrupling oil prices in 1973-1975, (2) the Fed’s elevated interest rates to combat inflation in 1981-1982, (3) the savings and loan crisis in 1989, (4) the boom and bust of the dot.com businesses in 2001, and (5) the sub-prime mortgages in 2007. Today, a recession is starting to take hold, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether V-shaped, U-shaped, or L-shaped remains a subject of speculation. But the real question now is: What needs to be done today

to get through this crisis and come out ahead?

 

Areas covered include:

  • Opportunity
  • Timing
  • Expanding market share
  • Mergers and acquisitions

 

Read the full article, Managing Through A Recessionary Crisis, on the Great Prairie Group website. 

 

 

Take a look back to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with Tobias Baer where he asks us to imagine the positive impact to both the individual and the economy.

Amidst all the gloom and panic, I saw a light today. Grounded in Germany, I made a long bicycle ride through mostly empty countryside. All my worries about my family, clients, and own affairs notwithstanding, I couldn’t help feeling bliss and happiness, and it dawned on me that also this crisis won’t be the end of the world – and that we might be able to soften the blow and use it for something good. With a pause button.

As we look at especially elderly patients dying because of a shortage of hospitals and ICU machinery, shutting down the world makes sense. And spending one, two months at home with our families actually could be a boon in disguise – if it wasn’t for the world economy, our livelihood, fighting for its survival. And as I was gliding through the fields, I wondered if we could simply hit the pause button on the economy – if we, the ‘normal’ world (those lucky enough not to be fighting death in the world’s health systems), collectively could go on a 2-month vacation, like a meditation retreat, while the real world, our businesses and financial pressures, are frozen in time. And it dawned on me that in a world where already normality has disappeared and many businesses are shut down, such a utopia might not be far fetched at all.

 

Read the full article, Could a Pause Button Save the World Economy, on LinkedIn

 

 

Robyn Bolton shares her predictions on what comes after the wave of COVID-19 abates. 

‘What happens next? You know, once all of this is over?’ my friend asked. ‘There will be a new normal, but what will it look like?’

This is the question everyone is asking.

Lots of people proclaim to have the answer. Some are based on history, but history isn’t a great predictor of the future. Some opinions are based on trends and projections but rely assumptions which may or may not be true. Many are based on our hopes or fears, but those are grounded in emotions which can change from one moment to the next.

No one actually has the answer.

What we’re experiencing is a fundamental disruption to our way of life. It calls into question everything we believed to be true about ourselves and our worlds. It requires us to re-think things that we took to be inviolable truths. It is impossible to experience such a sudden and all-encompassing upheaval and emerge as if nothing happened.

We know things will be different once the restrictions (e.g. stay-at-home, limited gathering sizes, essential workers only, curfews) are lifted.

What we do not know is HOW they will be different and HOW LONG they will stay different.

 

Topics included in this article:

  • How will connection be different?
  • How will work be done?
  • How will learning and education occur?
  • HOW LONG will the “new normal” last?

 

Read the full article, What Happens Next?, on Medium

 

 

As many of us continue to hold a business together through online meetings, Susan Drumm provides expert advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of the virtual workplace, including tips on planning and running online meetings.

Effective virtual meetings? Ha! If they exist, I’ve certainly never attended one.” If this was your thought process when you read the title of this blog post: I get it.

With the COVID-19 crisis and its implications for remote working, it’s more important than ever for leaders to run effective virtual meetings. Teams need leaders who can facilitate impactful meetings that create community and accountability across time zones.

A virtual meeting is obviously different from an in-person one and there are several specific things you’ll need to pay attention to. Otherwise, you are likely to see a fair bit of multi-tasking, surfing the web, phone-in only, or team members turning off their mics to have outside conversations, leaving the team feeling even more disconnected.

I’m not just talking about team members — leaders do it, too.  According to a Harvard Business Review study, managers who multitask during meetings are 2.2 times more likely to have direct reports who also multitask in meetings.

My own team is virtual and I’ve been facilitating leadership development programs virtually for years. I know what works and what doesn’t. Here are my best virtual meeting tips for executives.

 

Tips include:

  • Creating connection
  • How to handle tangents and derailers
  • Using the DIS framework

 

Read the full article, “Incredibly Effective Virtual meetings: 10 Tips to Plan and Run Them,” on the Meritage Leadership website.

 

 

Jared Simmons provides a concise post that identifies the three most common factors that impede progress. 

Whether you are chasing profit or purpose, a team’s ability to make progress is critical to achieving its objectives. There are many obstacles that keep a team from operating at its full potential, but the three most common (and solvable) ones are ambiguity, apathy, and amateurism. The challenge is recognizing them in action.

 

Discover how the following three A’s impact your team:

  • Ambiguity
  • Apathy
  • Amateurism

 

Read the full post on the, Making progress: The three silent killers, on the Outlast website. 

 

 

As we begin to consider the far-reaching and long-lasting impacts of the current pandemic, Robbie Kellman Baxter thinks ahead and shares her thoughts on the future of live gatherings and how that will affect a wide range of institutions, organizations, and individuals.

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they’re canceling any large physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021. (Some they’ll hold as virtual events.) Microsoft announced something similar. Many organizations are allowing no business travel through at least June of this year.

 It looks like many organizations are going to be “virtual only” for at least another year.

And if businesses are being cautious, consumer gatherings are likely to be limited as well. What does that mean for sports, concerts, museums, theaters, theme parks and cruise ships? Industries most hard hit by the ban on large live gatherings include education, conferences, entertainment (sports, theater, concerts, amusement parks, museums, zoos) and travel.

 

Included in this article:

  • Re-engineering virtual events
  • Online content to maintain and deepen relationships
  • Four ideas to help you move forward

 

Read the full article, “The Future of Live Gatherings and What it Means for Your Forever Transactions”, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Susan Meier was recently interviewed on The Growth Zone where she shared her expertise on good branding strategies and how to upscale brand visibility.

Brands of all kinds are seeing a huge need to rethink and reinvent in the new context we’re faced with. The game has changed, but the basic rules remain the same.

I encourage people to step back from that (social media), before you build your platform and presence, you need to think about who you are and what’s going to be really interesting and meaningful for the customers you serve. So I encourage my clients and those entrepreneurs and small businesses that I advise to start thinking about themselves. So often, myself included, we start with the products or service is, we know what it is we have to offer, but around lies three different things, the way that I see it: who you are as an individual and what you bring to the table, what is that DNA, what are your core values, dig into your specific identity so that you discover the origin story before you dive into your products and services. That’s going to start the process of understanding what really makes you different.

 

Points discussed include:

  • The myths about creativity that hold us back
  • What makes a good branding strategy?
  • How can the creative part of branding stay on track?
  • What are Susan’s tips to scaling one’s brand visibility?

Listen to the podcast, What makes a good branding strategy?, on The Growth Zone.

 

 

Jason George shares an origin story of management consulting and lessons from the barnyard to highlight the benefits of putting people and practice before personal profit. 

Marvin Bower faced a critical choice. He had led McKinsey & Company from its earliest years, in the process helping to define the fledgling field of management consulting. Now nearing retirement age, it was time to hand the reins to the next generation of leaders. As the principal shareholder in the partnership, Bower’s ownership stake was a gold mine, appreciating to many multiples of its value since his joining roughly thirty years prior.

To cash out he could sell to a third-party buyer interested in taking over operations. Alternatively, he could require the current partners of the firm to buy out his stake at market value. This would involve significant indebtedness that could constrain future agility.

Bower chose a radical, nearly unprecedented path. When the time came for him to step down as managing director, he elected to sell his shares back to the partnership at their nominal book value instead of their true market price. In the process he would forego a massive windfall, while also setting an example that would reverberate throughout the organization for decades to come. For Bower, a one-time gain was not worth more than investing in the culture and health of the institution he had laboriously built up.

 

Points of interest in this article include:

  • Bain & Company’s downturn
  • The twist in modern capitalism
  • Establishing the ownership structure for investing

 

Read the full article, How giving away value can create more, on Jason’s website.

 

 

As more consultants rely on video conferencing to connect with clients, David A. Fields shares timely, tractable, and tongue-in-cheek tips on how to avoid common mistakes that are all too often made. 

Are there video call-specific rules of etiquette? Of course.

Remember the old days, when people left their houses? Consultants would frequently travel thousands of miles, sardined next to strangers (crazy, right?).

Even then, your consulting firm’s best, everyday outreach tool was your telephone.

However, in the modern, no-travel era, video calls have become totally acceptable and quite common.

Video calls are far more effective than the phone for building relationships with your consulting firm’s clients, prospects, influencers and partners.

As noted in this article, you’ll benefit from quickly moving email and phone conversations to video.

However, video calls do come with some risks and behavior changes.

For instance, when you were on a phone call and the other person was talking, you could sneak in a quick bite of your lunch (or one, entire Krispy Kreme donut).

On a video call, you tell your contact that you see a tarantula dangling behind them, then quickly scarf your box of donuts while you’re watching the other person shriek and flail. (Later in the conversation you can mention how much you like their pajama bottoms.)

Obviously, a quick review of avoidable video call faux pas is in order.

 

Tips include:

  • Visual disconnection
  • Audio fails
  • Hot mic/camera
  • Unhappy endings

 

Read the full article, “10 Common, Avoidable Mistakes Consultant’s Make on Video Calls,” on David’s website. 

 

 

Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis. 

I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.

Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.

And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.

People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.

 

The steps outlined include:

  • Supporting the needs of society
  • Employee retention
  • Customer support
  • Cashflow forecast

 

Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.

 

 

Cheryl Lim Tan takes a look at how the COVID-19 virus has affected what consumers are buying after the initial panic purchases.

Let’s see how the stay-at-home economy is stacking up.

The American consumer has until very recently, powered close to 70% of GDP. As we settle into what may be a few months of a nationwide stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, a very different looking consumer is emerging — in yoga pants, and in desperate need of a haircut / dye job / triple latte.

So yes, we already know people have stocked up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But after the initial panic-buying wears off and we settle into this coronavirus-induced new normal, what else will this new consumer be purchasing?

 

The hierarchy of needs include:

  • Survival
  • Services
  • Home Office/School
  • Self-entertainment
  • Self-fulfilment

 

Read the full article, What is that socially-distant consumer buying these days?, on Medium

 

 

Andrew Hone’s company has developed a 6-week program which takes businesses through each step of our three-stage framework for responding to COVID-19.

COVID-19 represents a formidable challenge to businesses of all sizes. Necessary policy responses have caused significant disruption to the global economy, with simultaneous demand, supply and financial shocks. Most businesses are experiencing a sharp decline in near-term revenue, requiring actions to mitigate the impact on cash flows and potentially to secure additional funding.

Based on our own experiences with clients on turnaround and performance improvement programs, we have developed a strategic framework to assist businesses in working through their response to COVID-19. There are three key elements to this framework:

 

  • Ensuring immediate business continuity
  • Securing the near-term financial viability of the business
  • Positioning the business for medium-term strategic opportunities

 

Read the full article, Responding to COVID-19, on Zenith Strategy Associates’ website.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter provides a few words of encouragement and valuable links that will inspire and motivate.

Now is a good time to sharpen the saw.

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”According to recent data from Zuora, only 11% of subscription businesses using their billing platform have seen a decline in members vs 2019.

We all need a little inspiration right now. Whether our business is going well or not.

I’ve been talking with subscription executives that are worried and pulling back for sure. But many subscription businesses are growing, and practitioners working in those companies, the product managers, marketers, customer success teams and sales organizations, are busier than ever.

Organizations are dealing with new demands, and a new environment, which requires pivoting and fresh ideas. Those of us who are seeing a slowdown in business and in “to do” lists, are thinking about how things will be different in the foreseeable future.

 

Free includes:

  • A Financial Planning Marketing playbook
  • Leading Learning
  • Read to Lead
  • Glambition

 

Access links and read the full article, Sharpening the Saw for Subscription Practitioners & Entrepreneurs–FREE STUFF, on LinkedIn.

 

 

James Bowen takes a look ahead to the end of this year, and shares his thoughts on four likely scenarios that may come to pass. 

Today we live in an environment of extreme uncertainty. More than 26 million Americans who had jobs a month ago are now unemployed. No one can tell you whether that number will be bigger or smaller a month from now. We have seen negative prices for the West Texas Intermediate oil contract, but that same barrel traded yesterday for $28.82 for December delivery, giving a tremendous premium to anyone who can store crude oil. As I previously posted, the expectations of risk priced into equity markets have unquestionably increased; it’s difficult even to estimate how much, because any estimate of future cash flows at this point is mostly guesswork. Point estimates are worthless and even probability distributions of future outcomes are likely based on shifting sands.

 

The four outcomes explored are:

  • Stagflation
  • International Competition
  • Prolonged Recession
  • Robust Recovery

 

Read the full article, Four Scenarios for Year-End 2020, on LinkedIn.

 

 

During times of crises leaders must make the tough decisions, but choosing the right way to go is not always clear cut. Zaheera Soomar identifies three practical approaches to serve as guidelines for ethical decision-making.

During a recent conversation with a senior executive, she expressed a sentiment that many of us share: “When the pandemic has passed, I want to be able to say that, at the hardest of times, I did my best to do the right thing”. During this pandemic, leaders are expected to make difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences.

Ethical decision-making becomes even more important in times of crisis.

Leaders are constantly faced with ethical decisions, with all of the challenges associated with meeting the expectations of various stakeholders – investors, employees, customers, partners, regulators, local communities, and society at large. These decisions are rarely simple, bringing together financial considerations with deep-rooted beliefs about the right thing to do: Costco’s raising of its minimum wage, Woolworths’ decision to get out of liquor and gambling and Salesforce’s decision to bar certain firearms companies from using its services all represent tough decisions informed by ethics and values. Leaders must make decisions with limited knowledge, predicting their impact, and have confidence and trust that the compromises and trade-offs are the right ones.

 

Included in this article:

  • Align your decisions with your purpose
  • Follow agreed and actionable principles
  • Prioritise and plan your decisions and actions

 

Read the full article, Making Good Decisions in times of Crisis, on the Principia website. 

 

 

James Bowen takes a moment to muse on risk expectations and market values.

 

Today I read Christopher Schelling’s insightful article in Institutional Investor, “The Dust Bowl Ravaged 1930s America: Coronavirus is Today’s Equivalent.” It led me to thinking about risk, and in particular how a risk no one considered at all a little over a month ago has emerged to destroy trillions of dollars of value — perhaps not in percentage terms, but certainly in dollar terms the largest destruction of value in my lifetime. How can this be?

The market value of anything, whether a farm or a necklace or a share of stock, is what someone else is willing to pay for it. In financial markets, we should see a relationship between the market price of an asset and its future cash flows, discounted for the riskiness of the asset. The riskier the asset, the greater the rate of discount of the future cash flows. Of course, it’s all more complicated than that, but at its very core the foundational principle of modern finance is that return is commensurate with risk, and the sum of the expected future returns on an asset tells us what it is worth. When the riskiness of future returns increases, present value decreases, and vice versa. It’s that simple.

 

Read the full article, On Risk in the Coronavirus Era, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis. 

I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.

Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.

And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.

People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.

 

The steps outlined include:

  • Supporting the needs of society
  • Employee retention
  • Customer support
  • Cashflow forecast

 

Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.

 

 

Sarah Ralston Miller and Zaheera Soomar co-authored this article on how to support and strengthen company culture during the current crisis. 

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, our world of work has changed almost overnight. In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with senior leaders at organizations with whom we have been working to strengthen their ethical culture. These leaders understand that their culture is an essential resource to navigate through the current crisis, and are finding new ways to cultivate ethical culture under these radically-changed circumstances. Drawing on our conversations with leaders across business and civil society, here are a few reflections on ways to guide your own culture during this period.

Be deliberate about your remote-based culture. It is important that we understand how the shift to remote work environments impacts our organizational culture, no matter how temporary we hope it will be. Being intentional about what we put in place can enable benefits and mitigate risks. Transitioning to remote work without building a corresponding culture creates multiple risks, including loss of employee engagement and inclusion, impact to productivity, lack of connectedness between individual and overall organization goals, increased fragmentation and risks of misconduct related to changing accountabilities.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Remote-based culture
  • Communication
  • Scenario-planning
  • Agility and adaptability

 

Read the full article, Cultivating Culture in a Crisis, on the Principia website. 

 

 

Aneta Key lightens the mood for the day with these tongue-in-cheek video conference tips. 

 

Many of us are so accustomed to videoconferencing, we take it for granted. But with the COVID-19 pandemic shift to remote work, a whole lot of professionals worldwide are just now being introduced to this genre of workplace interactions.  

This blog post will offer something for veterans and newbies alike. In a true iterative fashion, I will add to it over time.

 

 

Tips include:

  • Productive direction
  • How to make it engaging

 

Watch the video, Simple Ideas for Better Meetings, on YouTube, and tune into the series of videos, On Lockdown in San Francisco, on the Aedea Partners’ website.

 

 

While all eyes are on the future of Africa’s resources, Richard Stuebi takes a look ahead at improving the electricity sector. In this article, he summarizes the main points from a year long study. 

For the past year or so, I’ve been privileged to lead a team at the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University to develop a synthesized perspective on the current state of and future prospects for the African electricity sector.  I’m pleased to announce that our final report is now available to the public, and a webinar presenting a brief summary of its findings can be seen here.

This report became a labor of love for me:  although it admittedly took a lot longer to complete than I had expected, the effort in reviewing the ever-growing body of information on electricity in Africa rewarded me by providing additional evidence in support of my hypothesis that the natural long-run state of the sector involves a “grid-of-grids” architecture.

The challenges impeding improvement in the African electricity sector are daunting.  

 

The points summarized in this article include:

  • Population’s access to electricity
  • Africa’s infrastructure and economy
  • Control of Africa’s utilities
  • Africa’s reliance on fossil fuels

 

Read the full article, Bringing Power and Progress to Africa, on the Future Energy Advisors’ website.

 

 

Azim Nagree explores the necessary steps to take when the current crisis is over and shares a template you can use to build your business case.

Many of us are spending our time thinking about (and writing about) how to get through the current Coronavirus-driven situation. For those who have had to endure headcount reductions, your energy and focus is probably on just getting through the day-to-day workload.

But it’s important to think about what will happen when the current crisis is over, especially as it relates to hiring. So, when management is telling you to cut back on headcount, how do you make the case to start hiring again?

The answer is simple – data.

When you are asking for additional headcount, make sure that you have the data to back up your request. It is likely that every department will be requesting headcount, and the executive team will not approve everyone’s request. Those with a solid business case backed up with data will win, compared to those who have generic requests based upon intuition. More simply said: Bring a gun to the knife fight

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Sales targets and quota capacity
  • Demand generation
  • Customer support and customer success

 

Read the full article, What Happens When This Is All Over, on LinkedIn.

 

 

In this detailed article, Surbhee Grover identifies the decision-making inputs and new market approaches that will be required to survive in the new economy.

For entrepreneurs, coming out of COVID-19 isn’t the end of a crisis. It’s the beginning of a new way of thinking about their approach to product-market fit, financing, marketing and go-to-market strategies. And for some, will be a time to reflect on their personal approach to risk. The exponential pace of change to society will mean that only those entrepreneurs who have the greatest ability to adapt will survive. 

Framing how the world will be different is important, as these differences will both unlock new opportunity and create new goalposts for innovation, user adoption (B2C and B2B), team building, product-market fit, and venture funding. We believe a few things will be true:

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Brand relationships
  • Purchasing behaviour
  • Migration of talent and teams
  • Re-imagined supply chains
  • Data needs and sources

 

Read the full article, Shakeout of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem What will it take to survive? And thrive?, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Leadership has its own set of unique challenges during times of crises; Luiz Zorzella provides a post that identifies a few of the common obstacles faced and how to overcome them.

During a crisis, we are all pushed to make strategic, life-changing decisions. Often we need to make these decisions under a lot of uncertainty and with incomplete and faulty information.

Below, I review some of my favourite cognitive biases with a couple of examples of how they may be influencing your and your counterpart’s decisions.

You can print this list and keep it in your drawer as a checklist on how to survive yourself and the other survivors during this period.

In the early days of a crisis, there is a lot of uncertainty: at the macro level, questions like how long the crisis will last, how effective the solution will be and, what will be the direct and indirect impact of this on your business, your clients, partners and competitors are very troubling questions.

On top of these, micro questions like how will these change the demand for your products, what emerging business models will be successful and what implications all these changes will have to your risk profile; and individual questions like what is the impact on the your health, your team’s and your loved ones and what is the impact on your job security, growth prospects and personal investments.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • The need to hide vulnerability & overconfidence
  • Ambiguity aversion
  • Availability heuristic
  • Group think
  • Belief bias, confirmation bias & outcome bias

 

Read the full article, 5 Demons Who Flourish During Hard Times, on the Amquant website. 

 

 

David A. Fields shares a post that identifies the benefit of extending your reach and imagination to find partners and connections that can help your business grow.

Many of your consulting firm’s prospects are caught in the eddies of crisis and battling to stay afloat. While they appreciate your relationship-building calls, unfortunately, they’re too preoccupied to fully engage in deep conversations with you.

On the other hand, you know who’s in the same boat as your consulting firm and casting about for new ideas and connections?

Fly fishermen. Partners.

Plus, the right partner can contribute more to your consulting firm’s health over the long term than any one client.

A partner is any individual or firm that helps you with your consulting cycle (Winning Engagements and Profitably Creating Value), and/or whom you can help.**

 

The five categories (and examples) of partners are:

  • IP Creators
  • Influencers
  • Connectors
  • Value Extenders
  • Distributors

 

Read the full article, 5 Partners Your Consulting Firm Should Call This Week, on David’s website. 

 

Join Kaihan Krippendorff on May 6th, for a summit with 24 thought-leaders from around the globe, across 24 hours where thought leaders will discuss how to rethink tomorrow for you and your Organization. Confirmed speakers include Dan Pink, Amy Edmondson, Marshall Goldsmith, Faith Popcorn, and Rosabeth Moss-Kanter. 

 100% of profits will go to charity. Donations will be awarded to Kiva, No Kid Hungry, GiveDirectly, and the European Food Banks Federation.

 

Jason George explains with delightful simplicity how the formula used by Dr. Seuss to tell a story is a good example to follow for presentations. The distillation of the core idea to ensure comprehensive understanding that opens the door to deeper exploration.

Author Theodor Geisel was dealing with some tough constraints. The audience for his next book required an instantly captivating story with a clear narrative arc, but there was a catch: they could only process a limited set of words, ideally fewer than 300, most of which would have to be monosyllabic. This was understandable given his target was students in the first grade, who would be around six years old.

Geisel had written children’s books previously, but this was to be his first in a new publishing imprint aimed at the youngest readers. After wrestling with these limitations for almost a year, Geisel worked out a deceptively sophisticated tale that differed markedly from those of the simple reading primers used to increase literacy in 1950s America. It featured a whimsical cat whose unexpected encounter with two children generated amusingly outlandish antics, all told with unusual irreverence.

 

Read the full article, Simplicity rules – Short and sweet,  on JasonGeorge.net.

 

 

As more employees work from home, it is important to establish clear guidelines and routines, this post from David Burnie’s company provides ten questions businesses should ask to ensure the switch to working remotely runs smoothly. 

Establishing a work from home (WFH) program is an essential part of a business continuity plan.

In the current COVID 19 crisis, executing a work from home (WFH) policy is a top priority for organizations. A robust work from home policy will enable an organization to continue operating during a significant disruption while limiting the impact on employees and customers.

A WFH policy requires a broad set of considerations to ensure it is adequately developed, including the provision of tools (e.g., laptop, headset, increased VPN capacity) and revised processes and practices. To assist organizations in making the shift to working from home, we developed ten questions to consider to build an effective WFH policy.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Tool required
  • Secure access
  • Scheduling
  • Tracking and managing performance

 

Read the full article, Work from Home Best Practices, on the Burnie Group website.

 

 

Eric Hiller unrolls a few facts behind the need to hoard toilet paper (TP) as he shares his knowledge on the supply chain in this article recently published on MarketWatch.

One of the bizarre phenomena that we have been experiencing in the United States during the visit of our unfriendly visitor from Wuhan, the SARS-COV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 disease, is the strange behavior of people to irrationally hoard toilet paper (TP). I admit, this is one thing that I did not expect, nor did I expect it to go on for so long. I told my wife two to three weeks ago that this would not be a problem, because of the reasons that will be discussed in this article. But I admit, so far this problem has not resolved itself.

I feel pretty competent to talk on this subject, not only because I know the product so intimately, but also because I spent a summer at the East River plant of Procter & Gamble in Green Bay, Wisconsin making TP. I was interning as an undergraduate as a process engineer implementing statistical process control and machine center lining (exciting stuff… yes, I know). It just so happened that I was working on the “converting” floor for Charmin, Charmin Ultra, and Banner toilet paper. This, where you take finished rolls, that is the size the Jolly Green Giant must use (maybe 12 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter, weighing a couple of thousand pounds), and progressively unroll and cut them up until they end up in cases shipping to your friendly grocery store or another outlet.

So, when it comes to TP, I know my… stuff.

 

Facts included in this article:

  • The US supply chain
  • Why people are hoarding TP
  • The cure for TP shortage

 

Read the full article, Three Sheets to the Wind, on the MarketWatch website. 

 

 

Paul Millerd invites your mind on an adventure into utopian thinking and a timely reminder on the circular nature of life.

Millenarianism is defined as “the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”.

I ran across this concept in a fascinating book by John Gray called “Black Mass” where he explored how humans have consistently been drawn toward millenarianist movements. He goes through the history and characteristics of these movements and also applies it to the then current movement to go to war against Iraq during the GW Bush presidency. He showed how their campaign and the associated propaganda embodied many of the traits of these kind of movements.

If you read the book, you can probably skim the parts about the early 2000s, but the broader perspective on these movements and how they continue to occur throughout history was eye opening. Once you become aware of these tendencies you see them everywhere.

 

He explains the five traits of milleniarism movements:

  • Collective, in that it is enjoyed by the community of the faithful
  • Terrestrial, in that it is realized on earth rather than in heaven or in an after-life
  • Imminent, in that it is bound to come soon and suddenly
  • Total, in that it will not just improve life on earth but transform and perfect it
  • Miraculous, in that its coming is achieved or assisted by divine agency

 

Read the full article, What is your preferred pandemic utopia, on the Boundless website.

 

 

Dan Markovitz explains why using post-it notes may not be the best way to organize your workflow.

One of my clients, a physician in an academic medical center, has been struggling with her personal kanban. She avoided all the common pitfalls—she kept finished tasks in her Done column, limited her WIP, and used Super Sticky Post-It notes to ensure that she didn’t lose any work to evening janitorial services. But she wasn’t making a whole lot of progress, which left her frustrated with the kanban—it wasn’t helping her manage her work.

A closer look at the Post-Its revealed the problem: giant tasks (projects, really) that had no chance of getting finished in anything less than a few months—in her case, “Work on R-01 Grant,” “Write New Oncology Paper,” “New Patient Intake Protocol,” among others. If you were to scale a note to the size of the task written on it, these should have been about the size of a Times Square billboard, not a 3×3 Post-It.

 

Read the full article, Why Ping-Pong Post-It Notes are Bad for You, on the Markovitz Consulting website.

 

 

Jay Jung shares a case study that explains how his company helped a client with their fundraising process, and increased their valuation by 80% and doubled the capital raise.

One of our clients received a term sheet from a well-known VC in the industry. Our client was very excited as getting an investment from this firm was a strong sense of validation in the industry. However, the valuation was significantly lower than what they were hoping for.

The client only had one term sheet from this specific investor and was in dire need of a cash infusion to maintain its fast growth trajectory. Discussions with other investors were lagging and unclear if they were seriously interested.

This is a weak hand. In traditional negotiation terminology – what is your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement)? Ours was perhaps none existent, at best weak. But as Adam Grant advocates, “The science of the deal reveals that great negotiators refuse to believe in a win-lose world. They care about both results and relationships. They don’t declare victory until all parties win”

If you focus just on valuation, you are not going to gain much in this situation. We refuted their approach to valuation and explained why it was too low (unreasonable). The VC did not push back on our logic, but that doesn’t mean they accepted our higher valuation.

The key to gaining something in this type of discussion is identifying other issues that the investor is solving for. For investors, it is very rarely just about valuation.

 

Read the full case study, Successfully Negotiating VC Termsheets, on the Embarc Advisors’ website. 

 

 

Susan Meier was recently interviewed on this podcast where she dives into creative myths at work to dispel the ideas that creativity and strategy are at odds. 

I think that we live in  world where we are surrounded by these myths, which, when we say them out loud they sound silly but we’ve kind of bought into, like the starving artist, or the writer who drinks too much, and so we kind of think of creativity in the back of our minds as something that may be a little playful or childlike or frivolous and not something that serious people do. And this shows up at work for business people, as almost a fear of showing their true colours. So, I encounter people all the time who are serious musicians or accomplished writers who hide that part of themselves at work, because they want to be taken seriously as a the tech entrepreneur  or whatever they are in their so called real job, and I think that this is a real missed opportunity, because, of course, the things that make us successful as creatives are exactly the things that make us successful in all kinds of work.

 

Points discussed include:

  • Tips on creating a brand
  • Branding for the individual
  • Self-assessment 
  • The evolution of Susan’s career

 

Listen to the full podcast, Creative Myths at Work, on the Creativity Coach podcast.

 

 

Joyjit Saha Choudhury takes a look ahead to determine the effect of COVID-19 on health plans. 

COVID-19 has upended our society, economy and the healthcare ecosystem in particular, and tremendous efforts are underway to try and manage the epidemic. In this difficult and unsettling time, I wanted to help think ahead to actions US-based payors and providers should take for a post-COVID-19 world. 

This piece is structured in three parts – part 1 outlines likely strategic changes to the payor-provider landscape in the near- to medium-term; part 2 serves to remind the industry about what will likely NOT change in the long-term; finally, in light of parts 1 and 2, part 3 lays out six major actions payors and providers should take for a post-COVID-19 world.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Changes in the payor-provider landscape in the near- to medium-term
  • What will not change in the payor-provider landscape in the long-term
  • Actions payors and providers should take for success in a post-COVID-19 world

 

Read the full article, Six Actions U.S. Payors Providers Should Take for a Post COVID-19 World, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Sean O’Toole explains why there will be no going back to normal and why the current disruption provides opportunities for companies that can redefine themselves for the future.

The world post-COVID19 will be very different from [the one] we just left a few weeks back!

Each crisis has brought dramatic changes in consumer, business and social behavior. At the time, some of the changes accelerated what was already in motion. Others were entirely unanticipated.

Whatever changes this crisis will wrought will take time to play out. However, there will be no return to business-as-usual.

We Are All Changing Right Now!

Consumers, employees and businesses are adopting to this our new reality at speed. We have no choice.

 

Read the full article, COVID19 is Your Permission To Shift To The Future, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her experience of launching a book during the COVID-19 virus and explains what you can do to rethink plans that have been disrupted. 

This article is based on some of the ideas that came up last week in my LinkedIn Live Session. I’m a beta tester for this new feature, which allows for a more direct, realtime and raw connection with the community. I’ll be LIVE every Friday at Noon Pacific. If you follow me on LinkedIn, you’ll be automatically notified. I’d love it if you join me!

Did you have a launch planned for this spring that went awry. A conference that was canceled, a project put on hold, or a new product that was scaled down? Or maybe, like me, you had written a book that was scheduled for spring of 2020 release?

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Rethinking tactics
  • Taking care of stockholders
  • Reassessing the goal
  • Finding support

 

Read the full article, Launching in a Crisis, on LinkedIn.

 

 

As more people get used to working remotely, Paul Millerd shares valuable advice and fourteen tips that should not be followed.

I’ve either put these tips into practice in my own life or can confirm that other people have. People rarely talk about these practices in public because there is a certain amount of shame and embarrassment about telling people you work less.

 

Advice on working remotely Paul shares include:

  • The morning routine
  • Asynchronous communication
  • The bi-modal workday
  • Expectations of motivation

 

Read the full article, Don’t Follow this Advice on Working Remotely, on the Boundless website.

 

 

David A. Fields provides expert advice on how to manage customers during a crisis. 

What do you do when your well-intended outreach call crashes into a brick wall of negativity?

Like many consulting firm leaders, you may have been burning up the phone lines the past week or two, reaching out to your clients and other contacts. Your motives are pure—admirable even. You’re checking in, showing support during a difficult time and offering help.

By and large, your efforts engender successful conversations. More executives are picking up the phone these days.

 

Advice offered includes:

  • Staying right side up
  • Responding with empathy
  • Offering help

 

Read the full article, How To Gracefully Manage Your Consulting Firm’s Shell-shocked Clients, on David’s website. 

 

 

David Gross takes a look ahead at the looming concern about pension plans. 

 

Author’s note: This article focuses on defined benefit pension plans in the private sector. To learn more about the pension challenges facing municipalities and states, check out this article by Mary Williams Walsh at The New York Times and the Federal Reserve’s analysis from December 2019. 

Stock markets plummet by 20 to 30 percent. Long-term interest rates drop. Future economic growth and asset returns are in doubt. Each of these scenarios can threaten the solvency of defined benefit pension plans and pose challenges for the employers sponsoring and managing these plans. Like the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, COVID-19 has delivered all three scenarios overnight. For companies that elected not to de-risk their plans over the past decade, or lacked the financial means to do so,  the next decade will bring higher contributions and less discretionary cash for reinvestment, mergers and acquisitions, dividends, and buybacks. For some companies, the next decade will also make them less attractive, or unattractive, to potential acquirers or bring a reorganization or liquidation. 

 

Read the full article, The Next Crisis? Pension Plans, on the Strategic Value Partners’ website.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter explains why the customer relationship is even more valuable and volatile during times of crisis and provides six practical steps you can take to maintain  strong customer relations.

Subscription-based businesses seem to be the most resilient during this time of crisis. With predictable recurring revenue, they have greater flexibility to withstand the storm. But there’s more to it than just revenue. To hang onto customers during a crisis, you need to build a forever transaction with the people you serve. 

Around the world, everyone is adjusting to their own personal “new normal.” They’re sheltering in place. They’re worrying about the elderly and immunocompromised in their community. Their kids are distance learning and not going to school or childcare. Most people, except those on the front lines and in essential businesses, are working from home. And many of those who own or run businesses are trying to hang onto their customers when seemingly all forces are working against them.   Smart marketers know they can kill their brand if they screw this up.

 

The six steps include:

  • The focus on the forever promise
  • Determining your best members
  • Expanding customer success
  • Learning from frontline team members
  • Placing the customer at meetings
  • Identifying the customer challenges

 

Read the full article, How to Hold onto Your Customers in a Crisis – and for the Long Term, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Jason George provides insight on the changes that may emerge after the current crisis.

 

A good strategy should be responsive to the various scenarios that could plausibly materialize, but even the most tightly crafted ones get blown apart when their subject is hit by an asteroid. In our current situation the object wreaking havoc on a planetary scale happens to be a microscopic bit of encapsulated genetic information containing less data than an image used as website filler.

Starting in an animal market in a city that is larger than many globally prominent ones and yet unknown to the average person outside China, the newest coronavirus variant has managed to vaporize years of effort and planning. Retail, hospitality, and travel businesses have watched their markets disappear overnight, the wealthy are packing off to second homes away from the urban crush, and politicians are unleashing fiscal and monetary interventions at a scale unprecedented in history.

 

Insights on the future of the new normal include:

  • Behaviour changes
  • Humanity exposed
  • The fragility of supply chains
  • Robust systems
  • Relationships 

 

Read the full article, Strategy, disrupted. Everything has changed, on Jason’s website.

 

 

Amanda Setili shares a post that identifies a few ways we can take positive action during the current crisis.

Billions of us worldwide are altering our behaviors during the covid 19 crisis, so that as many people as possible remain safe.

When faced with a tough situation—even something big, like the coronavirus situation—I always ask: how can we mitigate the downside, and create some good?

We are living in strange times, and things are changing every day. Schools are closed and colleges have sent students home; flights, conferences and events have been cancelled; millions of employees are suddenly working remotely. Events this spring are likely to change the way we think, plan and do business for years to come.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Customers
  • Employees, process and finance
  • Suppliers
  • Community
  • Innovation and agility

 

Read the full article, Finding the Positive, Even in Challenging Times, on the Setili website.

 

 

While the businesses community is working hard to deal with the current difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next step is recovery. This post from David Burnie’s company shares ten priorities for a strong business recovery and business continuity plan.

 

With the spread of COVID-19 and the establishment of corresponding emergency measures, now is a crucial time for organizations to review and update their business continuity plan. While the organizations fortunate enough to transition to a work from home strategy are just adapting to this new way of working, the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic will quickly be upon us. High absenteeism will soon become the norm due to sickness and the need to care for loved ones who are ill.

We expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in business interruptions for at least six to eight months, with a worst-case scenario of interruptions lasting for twelve to twenty-four months. With that in mind, we are sharing our top ten considerations for planning, developing and executing a business continuity plan and a business recovery plan.

 

The steps covered include:

  • Establish clear succession planning and assignment of authority
  • Prepare for reductions in resource availability
  • Plan for large swings in demand
  • Establish rules to triage requests
  • Ensure critical systems are redundant

 

Read the full article, Top 10 Priorities for a Strong Business Recovery and Business Continuity Plan, on the Burnie Group website. 

 

 

Paul Millerd explores what it means to achieve your goals and why the simple goals stop working and you either have to keep raising the stakes or change your orientation.

In 2015, Kevin Durant left his team of nine years to join the best basketball team in the world. In the NBA, great players like Durant are judged based on whether or not they win championships. This undoubtedly influenced his decision to join the team with the best chance to achieve that goal.

Except when he ended up winning a title, he didn’t find what he expected. His friend Steve Nash reflected on Durant’s confusing emotions that summer:

‘He didn’t have a great summer,’ Nash told me last year. ‘He was searching for what it all meant. He thought a championship would change everything and found out it doesn’t. He was not fulfilled.’

No alt text provided for this image

The realization that achieving a goal will often not fundamentally improve your overall well-being can be a challenging moment for people.

It is also a moment where people can choose to orient in a new direction or double down on the same path. This seems like an easy decision to make, but over and over again, people continue back down the same path.

 

Points explored in this article are:

  • Reaching a WTF?! Moment
  • A Brief Detour To Grapple With Happiness
  • What About Work?
  • Have A Little Faith

 

Read the full article, The 2nd Chapter Of Success, on the Boundless website. 

 

 

David A. Fields offers an encouraging post on how to manage your ego when clients don’t respond to your overtures.

With a sigh and subtle shake of your head, you send one more outreach email to Pippi Burntkernels, the co-founder and COO of Plumper Popcorn, Inc. A few months ago, you and Pip had a great conversation about their operations, and you gave some advice on effectively instituting a better butter beater process.

You know that if you and Pip keep talking, there’s a consulting project at Plumper for your consulting firm.

But she doesn’t return your phone calls, nor has she responded to any of your emails. What’s going on?

 

Read the full article, How To Overcome Your Consulting Prospects’ Fear (So They’ll Call You Back), on David’s consulting website.

 

 

Jared Simmons explains why simplifying assumptions could be the key to unlocking value faster and freeing up your knowledge workers to innovate.

I learned the power of simplifying assumptions early in my career. As an engineering student, I watched my professors fill boards with Greek letters and symbols, exponents and integrals, constants and variables. Then, in the last 10 minutes of class we worked a real problem together. The first step of solving the real problem was always to use the context of the problem to apply simplifying assumptions to the theoretical equation. Things like material composition, physical location, and scale let us whittle that complex equation down to a more manageable size. Essentially, they allowed us to build real, specific things based on universal theories. Because we understood the theory behind it, we could quickly identify the right simplifying assumptions for each new practical application. An hour in understanding, 10 minutes in practical application.

 

The two main points discussed in this article are:

  • Barriers to applying simplifying assumptions at work
  • Why simplification matters

 

Read the full article, The power of simplifying assumptions, on the Outlast website. 

 

 

Susan Hamilton Meier shares her thoughts on the merger of analytical and creative thinking and the processes and tools she has designed to help teams problem-solve more creatively.

I turned up at the Boston Consulting Group, probably as the only hire who had never opened a spreadsheet before, so that was interesting, and I ended up, by virtue of that, getting assigned to projects where I did a lot more people skills, so I did a lot of interviews, I gravitated towards their consumer goods practice, and it was actually after they put me through business school, and it was actually after business school, which was around the time when companies were trying to work out what their brands meant in an online environment that I discovered the discipline of branding and that very interesting question of what your brand means. 

 

Points covered in this talk include:

  • How she became interested in branding
  • Discovering the discipline of branding online
  • Consumer research and branding
  • The driving forces behind brand loyalty

 

Listen to the full podcast, Brand Strategy with Susan Meier, on the Dream Business Radio podcast.

 

 

This article from Karthik Rajagopalan’s company blog introduces a type of machine learning that may provide solutions for some traditional optimization problems such as inventory optimization and supply chain optimization.

The field of artificial intelligence is slowly beginning to permeate our lives. Computers and other machines are being endowed with intelligence through a process called machine learning. One particular type of machine learning that is of interest to us here in Paramis Digital is Reinforcement Learning (RL), which has been quite successful in a limited number of applications like teaching computers how to play video games and teaching robots how to perform certain activities.

Supervised learning uses data with input and labeled output and learns the relationship between them. Unsupervised learning, on the other hand, works on unlabeled data and is generally used for pattern detection. It is not uncommon to find applications that use a combination of the two methods. In reinforcement learning an agent, say a robot, learns to perform activities in an environment to accomplish a specified goal. The agent learns by performing various activities, collecting feedback from the environment in response to the activities and evaluating the feedback. The key part of this learning method is the reward mechanism, a mathematical construct, which rewards the agent for performing activities that will move it towards and eventually accomplish the goal. The agent is also punished for performing activities that detract it from accomplishing its goals.

 

Read the full article, Reinforcement Learning, on the Paramis Digital website.

 

 

Luca Ottinetti’s company blog identifies the drivers of organizational costs and explains why they add significant complexity to the administration of the business.

The costs associated with organizational alignment deal with two functions:  coordination and administration. Coordination costs include resources dedicated to facilitating information sharing, knowledge transfer, and communication.  These resources may comprise teams, committees, or formal lateral units depending on the complexity of the organization. Administrative costs include the top management functions for executive control and direction over all personnel, departments, facilities, and activities such as human resources, accounting, finance, public relations, contract administration, and legal.  Over time, organizational costs increase if for no other reason than business growth and to compensate for cost of living adjustments. In some cases, however, organizational costs increase well above the expected norm. The question is why.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Product line expansion
  • New market expansion
  • Micro-segmentation
  • Vertical integration
  • Merger integration

 

Read the full article, Do You Know Why Your Organizational Costs Are Rising?, on the Great Prairie Group website. 

 

 

Vik Muktavaram recently published an article that evaluates the current crisis through four approaches of risk management.

“As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded lines with no social distancing not only defeats the very purpose of screening but in fact, one could argue that the risk of spreading is increased substantially amongst the ground staff as well as passengers from different airlines. 

 As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also be wondering how did we miss this when all the signs were there. How did some countries such as Singapore and South Korea manage to contain, if not necessarily prevent, the spread of virus in their countries despite their proximity to China? Risk Management is a structured way of looking at early indicators and prioritizing risks and then managing these risks. As our crisis response continues to be a case study in “how not to”, let’s take a step back to see how the risk (low likelihood, high impact) of a virus-pandemic became a crisis.”

 

The four approaches explored are:

  • Risk Transfer
  • Risk Acceptance
  • Risk Avoidance
  • Risk Mitigation

 

Read the full article, Covid-19 in the U.S. How a Risk became a Crisis, on the Rithym Advisors’ website. 

 

 

Robyn M. Bolton shares sage thoughts and inspirational photographs that provide a moment of relief during stressful times.

I don’t know about you, but I’m rather tired of the non-stop hysteria that seems to be occurring these days. Between COVID-19, politics, the economy, and the state of Tom Brady’s contract (sorry, I live in Boston), it seems that the world is having a panic attack.

Namaste, people. Namaste.

In an effort to not contribute to the panic, instead of writing something topical and relating it to innovation, I’m simply going to share images of something that makes me extremely happy and peaceful and relate them to innovation.

Books.

Read the full article, 10 Moments of Innovation Zen, and view the photographs on Medium.

 

Jesse Jacoby shares a timeless post that explains how leaders can overcome overt and covert resistance to change. 

 

In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources:

  • An individual with a difficult personality
  • Someone anxious about impending change
  • A person who disagrees with your vision

Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways, each with the potential to create roadblocks for you:

  • Lack of Communication – Leaving you out of the loop in terms of key information or not discussing issues openly
  • Lack of Support – Foot-dragging on key initiatives you try to implement
  • Counterproductive Criticism – Being overly critical of you and your ideas
  • Passive Aggressive Behavior – Agreeing to do something, but then not doing anything

The steps to overcome resistance include:

  • Being alert to the signs of resistance
  • How to gain an understanding of the employee’s perspective
  • Defining  the positive behaviors you want to see, and be clear about your expectations
  • What to do if the resistance becomes habitual

 

Read the full article, How Leaders Can Manage Team Member Change Resistance, on the Emergent Journal website. 

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter identifies what ‘freemium really means’, how it can be used as a tactic, and the role of freemium in both ordinary and extraordinary times. 

Lots of organizations, particularly subscription businesses, are changing their rules about what is free and what is paid, in response to the coronavirus.

The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News are a few of the many publishers that have removed the paywall in front of coronavirus-related content. In other words, non-subscribers have access to articles relating to the pandemic and impending financial meltdown.

News isn’t the only industry that is giving away more than usual during this time of crisis.

Fitness organizations, like Orange Theory are live streaming classes that were formerly in-person, for members only.

Hello Core is offering free meditation classes to the public 3x/day through Instagram Live.

Zoom Communication CEO Eric S Yuan is expanding the features available on free accounts for K-12 educators.  

Many of my clients are asking what they should be giving away–a difficult choice in a time when many businesses are desperate for short-term revenue to avoid mass layoffs and ‘keep the lights on’.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • The difference between free trial and freemium
  • Viral freemium models
  • Customer engagement and retention

 

Read the full article, In Crisis, What Should Be Free(mium)?, on LinkedIn.

 

 

David A. Fields identifies benefits consulting firms should focus on during this time of crisis.

There are so many voices fixated on the disaster unfolding around us, that you could easily be swept into a torrent of anxiety, fear and panic.

In truth, there is real reason for concern and you absolutely should heed the direction of medical leaders. At the same time, you and your consulting firm will benefit from a healthy dose of positive perspective.

If you ferociously cling to positive thought patterns while chaos is swirling around you, you and your consulting firm can maintain a clear head and promote forward progress.

Fortunately, there are many realistic, reliable reasons for you to feel upbeat.

Eight thought-starters are listed below, and I’ve left two spots open for you to fill in—one more than usual, because I know the entire consulting community will benefit from your inspiring thoughts.

 

Read the full article, 10 Positive Facts Your Consulting Firm Should Obsess over During this Crisis, on David’s blog.