Transparency, Communication, and Emotional Management: Women CEOs Share the Keys to Running Their Businesses in the COVID-19 Crisis
The study “Conversations with women CEOs in the COVID-19 crisis” looks into leadership and management styles of women to raise awareness and promote female role models.
Barcelona, May 5th, 2020 – Created by BLI Mindset and LF Channel, “The bewo project” aims at spotlighting women and fostering female role models. In its attempt to meet such objective, the initiative has recently released results from its study entitled “Conversations with women CEOs in the COVID-19 crisis”. The qualitative investigation included the participation of 37 female CEOs and managers from different industries and countries. The majority of interviewees agreed that transparency, fluid communication channels, and the ability to manage emotions of all parties involved (employees, clients, suppliers, partners, etc.) have proven essential in handling a crisis caused by the pandemic.
With respect to internal communication, there has been a prevailing need for transparency. Indeed, managers have shared business standing, alternatives and perspectives much more than ever before. This can be observed in companies with less than 50 employees, in which some decisions with lasting impact, such as staff reduction, have been debated in a group setting. Likewise, communication with team members has been fluid. In companies with up to 50 employees working remotely, contact with staff has been daily and included reviews of workflow management and other, more personal matters.
Foresight has been another key valued by these female leaders. When it came to health, two out of every three CEOs took actions ahead of government-imposed measures to begin remote working. This included either alternating shifts or implementing action protocol to ensure the safety of individuals. “Not one of these women was prepared for a pandemic; however, some of the companies interviewed already had contingency plans in place that did not need to undergo any adaptation,” stated Imma Folch, one of the study’s investigators.
Relationships with clients, suppliers, and employees:
All CEOs were in agreement that understanding their employees’ emotional well-being is key to business survival. An employee’s home situation (children, spouses, and those either dependent or affected by COVID-19) has incurred a great cost when speaking in terms of direct impact on productivity and quality of work.
With respect to clients, many CEOs have opted for personal contact as means to maintain relationships and be familiar with individual-specific situations. All have taken such an approach in order to provide support and contribute to their clients’ survival. “Interviewed CEOs share this vision that now is the time to be near—closer—to clients and instill a sense of calm…to be seen as proactive as possible in these times… and convey transparency, honesty and courage,” explained Laura Inés Fernández, another of the study’s primary investigators.
As it concerns relationships with providers, there have been CEOs who have requested contracts be re-evaluated, payments deferred, and services/supplies cancelled. There have been, however, others who continue paying in order to prevent closure of supplier companies.
Preparing for future scenarios: the essential of foresight
When it comes to the future and how to prepare for the day after, there are highly different scenarios based on the country in which the company operates; the phase in which they find themselves in the pandemic; and, the measures undertaken by the government. However, two main practices have stood out: an increase in product and service portfolio (for when restriction measures are lifted), and an analysis of challenges posed to clients and ways by which companies will provide support. Some companies have even gone so far as to perform benchmarking in countries where infection transmission had begun much earlier in an attempt to identify services for clients in the future.
Plans for 2020 or previous years have reacted differently to the crisis. There are companies, particularly technological ones, who have accelerated their projects, even though it would have taken years to implement otherwise. There are companies who have maintained a steady trajectory as planned, especially with regards to international expansion and inorganic growth. And, there are those who will re-assess such plans once activity returns to normal.
For graphics and figures: https://bit.ly/2Wv7PRD
About the investigation:
“During the last, few days, we have read articles speaking about how various political leaders from countries like New Zealand, Finland and Norway have more successfully managed the crisis than some of their political counterparts in other parts of the world. This investigation aimed to understand how female leaders in the private sector confronted a crisis that affected all facets of their businesses, endangered the survival of such organizations, and carried reaching implications,” commented Laura Inés Fernandez and Imma Folch.
The study entitled “Conversations with women CEOs in the COVID-19 crisis” included 37 CEOs and General Directors from different countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
About the bewo project:
With the objective to spotlight women and continue fostering female role models, BLI Mindset and LF Channel have come together to create “The bewo project”. The initiative is led by Laura Inés Fernández and Imma Folch, two entrepreneurial leaders with vast experience in business management who have combined their skill sets to carry out a study entitled “Conversations with CEOs in the COVID-19 Crisis”.
As differentiating leadership styles from women became more evident during the pandemic, bewo arose to deeply explore how these individuals confronted the situation while in executive positions. Indeed, the success and interest surrounding bewo has led to its transformation into a project that sets forth many aspirations under one primary aim—to highlight female talent.
About BLI Mindset:
Focused on business and personal development, BLI Mindset offers consulting services in strategy, digital transformation, and executive development. Our methodologies and analyses facilitate decision-making processes and define strategy plans, identifying business challenges and preparing clients to overcome such obstacles.