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Navigating COVID-19: A Briefing for Leaders

Preparing communications related to COVID-19

Author: Diana Dopfel

Around the globe, we are navigating unprecedented territory. In response to the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, borders have closed, Main Streets have shuttered and millions of people are working from home—many alongside their children, who are figuring out how to go to school via teleconference.

The constant stream of information on this emergent disease—the rising number of diagnoses and deaths, the uncertainty of disease incidence due to lack of testing and the evolving public health response—has introduced to the world an entirely new lexicon and behaviors. We are learning about “sheltering in place,” “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” as we’re figuring out how to do them.

For leaders, the challenge is two-fold: they have to sort all of these issues out in the same way as everyone else, while at the same time guiding employees, customers, suppliers and other constituents through it.

To help, we’ve developed “Navigating COVID-19: A Briefing for Leaders.” In it you will find:

  • A summary of COVID-19 data including graphics and charts
  • Recommended leadership practices and behaviors
  • A lexicon of key terms and issues
  • Links to more information

In addition, we’ve created two downloadable, printable references to keep handy as you prepare crisis management and communications related to COVID-19.

The first, a COVID-19 Lexicon, contains a list of key terms related to COVID-19, including self-quarantine, isolation, lockdown, and others. We’ve also outlined the difference between coronavirus, COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, so you can be sure you are using the right terms about the virus and the disease that it causes.

Also available is a tip sheet called COVID-19 Leadership Behaviors and Practices, to support business leaders and others as they communicate with stakeholders during the coronavirus 2019 pandemic. It outlines what you should remember to do and have you should remember to act when communicating during such a challenging time.

We hope that you find these resources valuable, and encourage you to share them with others.

We will be updating these materials as needed, so make sure to check back periodically for revised content.

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