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April 2020

seeds of change amid the coronavirus disruption When we sent our inaugural Orangefiery Quarterly in February 2020, we had no idea the world would change so dramatically in just two months. As we finalize this Quarterly, more than 3 million people – a number that is surely understated by a significant amount due to limited testing – have been confirmed to have COVID-19. More than 200,000 have died. It has been a great human tragedy, overwhelming both individuals...

By Mike Kuczkowski In the summer of 2015, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger wanted to be candid with the investment community about an issue that had been haunting the company for a while. ESPN was a very big and very profitable part of Disney’s $52 billion business, which at that point included Pixar, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm. But things were changing. The rise of high-speed internet connections had led young people, in particular, to drop their cable...

On a recent webinar about COVID-19 communications, an audience member asked, “how will leaders know when it is ok to go back to business as usual?” If I was to read between the lines, another way to ask this question could have been, “what the heck are we supposed to be telling our people when we have no clue what will happen or when it will happen or how it should happen?” Looking at jobless claims, small...

By Diana Dopfel and Mike Kuczkowski We have just completed our first survey of leadership communications at US organizations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The press release can be found here and the full research report can be found here. The results found that organizations have risen to the challenge of COVID-19 communications, but the needs of employees in this time of crisis persist. Leaders must address concerns and demonstrate transparency, clarity and openness to build stronger...