Tag Archives: COVID-19

Managing-a-Crisis

Managing a crisis may be a function of culture

By now almost every country around the world has confirmed cases of Covid-19 and chances are – no matter where you live – you are currently either working from home or at a spatial distance from coworkers and customers. In these surreal times of being confronted with an invisible threat political, community, and corporate leaders are hearing the call to respond, to provide answers and solutions. It is especially in times like these, when contrasts in leadership styles come into full view. As you follow the global news you may have already asked yourself: How come the growing number of countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak are handling the pandemic the way they are? And what might influence these different responses to the health scare?

While there are several factors shaping how societies are dealing with this novel virus, many of the diverging approaches to manage the global pandemic can be attributed to culture. Political systems, societal structures, and emergency response protocols are all results of the collective behavioral preferences of the group that designed them. People from different cultures aren’t just randomly different from one another. They differ in quite specific, often predictable, ways. This is because each culture has its own way of thinking, its own values and beliefs, and different preferences placed on a variety of different factors.

Simply put, culture impacts everything groups of people do – especially, how they solve problems and how they manage crises.

Managing-a-Crisis
Managing a crisis may be a function of culture

As of now, roughly three months into the global outbreak, three coronavirus response macro trends have emerged. Let’s call them the authoritarian (contain at any cost) approach, the liberal (let’s adjust ourstrategyin real time) strategy, and the populist (it’s only a flu spread by China) method.

Before we compare these three crisis management styles, let’s look at a tool set which trainers and coaches in the field often refer to: cross-cultural dimensions. Dimensions are an interculturalist’s measuring units. They allow practitioners to compare behavior preferences across cultures, based on robust data collected in nation cultures all over the world. Dimensions indicate how people act along a certain spectrum: We either value universally applicable laws and rules, or we tend to weigh particular situations separately. People are either more long-term oriented, or short-term motivated. And so on.

Among the cultural dimensions most relevant in assessing the response to the coronavirus pandemic are Hierarchy vs. Egalitarianism, Individualism vs. Group Orientation, and Task vs. Relationship.

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In countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore the response to the outbreak was rather swift and governments clamped down rigorously. This can be seen as a reflection of the fact that the cultures in these countries tend to be quite hierarchical, collectivist, and relationship-focused. One anecdote from Taipei may serve as an example: During this crisis the Taiwanese government is monitoring people’s movements via the GPS in their phones. When one person’s cell phone battery died it took less than 30 minutes for government agencies to call the person’s landline. 5 minutes later, the police were at their door to check if they were home. While this might seem excessive to many people from liberal Western societies, citizens in hierarchical and highly collectivist cultures find these measures acceptable.

As the virus began spreading throughout Europe the responses to the crisis were as dissimilar as the cultures of the continent are. In mediterranean cultures like Spain and Italy which are one or two degrees less hierarchical, group-oriented, and relationship-focused (compared to the above mentioned Asian cultures), the reaction to the health threat was much less immediate. Only as the rapid spread of Covid-19 became apparent did the authorities dial up the severity of counter measures. Keep in mind as well, that – as part of the European Union – Italy and Spain have a responsibility to coordinate border shutdowns with their EU neighbors, since this restricts the free movement of people, goods, and services among the countries which are part of the Schengen agreement.

This is also the case for Austria, Germany, or France – three countries in which individual civil liberties are highly valued and not easily curtailed. Leaders in these countries only gradually gave in to the warnings of virologists and health experts. It was only with hesitation that German authorities imposed curfews and a piecemeal lockdown of public life.

Then, why is it that the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients in Italy is so much higher than in Germany? Experts are still examining this, and it unsure if culture plays a role here. One aspect to consider, though: Italian households often still consist of three generations under one roof, whereas Germans tend to leave the nest in their early 20s.

The third response group currently on display are countries like the United Kingdom or the United States – two countries like-minded in many of their cultural values. In fact, almost all Anglo-Saxon cultures, including Australia and New Zealand, tend to rank very high on the individualism and egalitarianism scales. Personal rights and individual freedoms are paramount in Anglo cultures and any attempt at restricting these rights are typically met with fierce public resistance. Combined with a sense of exceptionalism, these countries are exploring their own path in the fight against the coronavirus.

In the end, no matter which region in the world will have responded most effectively– culture forms the way they manage the crisis.

Christian-Hoferle

Christian Höferle

Founder and CEO of The Culture Mastery

Christian Höferle is German by birth, American by choice, and Bavarian at heart, and he is the founder and CEO of The Culture Mastery, a U.S.-based cross-cultural consultancy serving multinational organizations through tailored training and coaching programs.

Selling-in-tough-times

5 Tips on how to sell in these tough times!

Reading this you might feel, selling is not really what I do. But bear with me, because here is the most important message upfront: we are all in sales.

Selling is the art of persuading other people to act upon influence. And the better you can articulate your ideas, the more likely it is to have people support them or act in your best interest.

  1. Remove uncertainty

In order to sell you must remove uncertainty. People try to avoid any type of risk and that’s why they are usually skeptical when you approach them with any type of suggestion.

Let’s assume there is a scale from 1-10 (1 equals no certainty and 10 equals absolute certainty). Where would you expect a typical customer to be at? Well truth is, you never know. Everyone is different. That’s why it is so important to come across as a professional and focus on getting them to a 10, not on figuring out where he is at.

  1. Personality matters

Selling-in-tough-times
5 Tips on how to sell in those tough times!

The results you see in your life are the results of what you think about all day long. That requires you to make sure that your mindset stays focused on things that really matter. These days we hear a lot about Corona and its economic impact. However people buy from people and as some goods and services will still be bought, make sure you get your fair share of these deals.

Stay positive, because positive people attract other positive people. And these people make faster decisions and will seek for opportunity to spend more time with you and tell others about you.

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  1. Change the story

People like winners. And winners that ask for help are even more appreciated. Throughout the crisis and especially after a few weeks when people got used to it, those who play the victim card, will loose. Change the story.

This crisis impacts all of us in the same way, does not prioritize or discriminate against anyone. Therefore, connect to your friends, customers and random people you meet. Strengthen and build relationships. Help when help is needed. You are all on the same team. That will pay off big time.

  1. Use your free time wisely

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Therefore use the time you have to prepare for the changes to come. But don’t wait for them, as you can actively create them. This crisis is going to radically change the way we work, socialize, travel, shop… Think about ways to add value to people and existing businesses. What problems could have been avoided? How could this crisis be handled better. Write down all your findings and turn those ideas into money.

  1. Have video calls every day!

The most important piece of advice is keep in touch with people you know, don’t really know and those you would like to get to know. Zoom and other free video tools allow you to have video-calls with people all around the globe. Build your network, keep in touch, make sure people keep you on their mental map. Every crisis has winners and losers. It’s up to you to pick your side.

Philip-Semmelroth

Philip Semmelroth

Sales & Profit Specialist, Germany

Philip Semmelroth is Germany´s leading Sales Strategy Expert, helping organizations to boost their business.

Remain-Mindstrong-during-COVID-19

How small business owners can remain Mindstrong during this crisis

Remember before the current Global Trauma known as the “Corona Virus”, when business was about nailing your message, growing your team, getting your digital message on point. Well, these not so distant business stresses seem like a dream compared to the psychological pressure business owners are facing right now.

In the business world, there has been a strong push for personal development that focuses on high performance, on habits that lead to success and wealth, on positive mindset and resilience. But what do we do right now, when the collateral damage from this pandemic sees us facing not just uncertainty in finances, but a level of stress, fear and anxiety unlike anything a business accelerator or mastermind could have prepared you for.

The uncertainty of this time, means that the epidemics of stress, burnout and mental illness will increase. When we become highly stressed the quality of our decision making drops dramatically. When processing stress the part of our brain that makes decisions goes off line. This is because our brain and body is flooded with chemicals to deal with the stress in an automatic reactionary way, rather than being able to think through things.

Remain-Mindstrong-during-COVID-19
How small business owners can remain Mindstrong during this crisis

True mental strength does not come from your thinking, but rather your ability to pause and regulate your emotions. The ability to do this keeps us from making reactive and regrettable decisions. And this is a really important time, not to make reactive decisions.

In order to remain Mindstrong, get help, and not only with your business strategy. Whilst it can be reassuring to speak to a business mentor, prioritising your psychological wellness (and I mean above just exercise and meditation) is absolutely necessary in the climate we are all facing at this time.

People think they should prioritise business goals ahead of their ability to process stress. Right now, knowing how to have difficult conversations in a highly volatile environment, is a much needed skill, along with processing the stress that comes with it.

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Replace “stay positive” or “we’ll be fine” with empathy, that is to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel. Everyone will be impacted differently and will process this differently. Say, “It’s okay for you to feel (angry, scared), what can I do to help?”

We are not talking business metrics, we are talking about individuals who are afraid and this fear needs to be met with not only compassion for others, but self-compassion. It is hard to truly have compassion when we are in a state of dis-stress. A way to calm ourselves internally is to set good boundaries around the information/news we listen to. Take the time throughout the day to breathe and calm your nervous system.

Being able to regulate yourself is key to getting through these stressful times. Emotional self-regulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses. Your power comes from your ability to pause. Learn to prioritise internal calm and ease before taking action.

Evonne Englezos

Evonne Englezos

CEO of Mindstrong Global

Helping you cultivate the mental strength and resilience you need to lead – against all odds

A-Message-from-Shirelle

A message from Shirelle to kids everywhere

Hi. My name’s Shirelle. I’m a dog.

Really. I’m a husky-mix, and I live in California with my human friend. I’m not sure of his actual name, but because I think he’s the best sounding, smelling and feeling human, and the face I most love to see, I call him Handsome.

I also have a website, AskShirelle.com, where I give advice to people who write in. I get all sorts of questions, about everything from difficult parents and kids, to pet issues, to crushes and dating. LOTS on crushes and dating!

But lately, what I’ve mostly been hearing is fear and confusion about this awful crazy Coronavirus. Parents are worried about how to care for their family, kids are scared their parents won’t be able to feed them, everyone’s wondering how long they’ll be shut in… and of course, everyone’s wondering if they or their loved ones are in real danger!

And they’re right to worry!  At least for a while.

You see, the difference between this virus and the many, others out there that make people (or dogs) sick is that this one is new.  As far as anyone can tell, it didn’t even exist till last year.

A-Message-from-Shirelle
A Message from Shirelle to Kids Everywhere

So all these other diseases and toxins out there have been investigated and worked on by doctors and scientists for centuries, to a point where humans know how to cure, or protect against, almost all of them. But not this one. So yes, that makes it scary.

But here’s the good news. Doctors and scientists are a clever bunch, and they are busy working on solutions to keep us safe. They just don’t have them yet, but they´ll get there. In the meantime, governments all over the world are doing their very best to contain the virus. To keep it from spreading, as much as they can.

And how are they doing that? Oh you know very well – it’s what you’ve been hearing everywhere for the past few weeks. They’re telling everyone:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Stay six feet (two meters) away from other people as much as possible
  • Wash your hands as much as possible
  • Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible
  • Don’t cough or sneeze on others, as much as possible
  • And especially, if you’re feeling sick, keep yourself inside and away from anyone else.

If everyone in the world did this, perfectly, the virus would find no one to hitch onto, and it would die off within a couple of weeks. But … it’s not possible for everyone to do these perfectly. People have to get food, doctors need to work on sick patients, and you all have families and loved ones we’re there for.

So does that mean we’re all doomed?

Not a bit.

First of all, because we know what to do, we can keep this nasty little thing from hurting most of us.

And second, although the world economy is taking a big hit, with all these people not going to work, we’ve seen it way worse (you might have heard of The Great Depression, in the 1930s, when it seemed like no one was going to be able to make money again for ten years! And the world survived that!).

And we know that this will end. Maybe in a few months, certainly within a year. And when that happens, the economy around the world will EXPLODE! Can you imagine how many people will suddenly be rushing out to restaurants, to beauty salons, to clothes stores, to movie theaters, to dance clubs, to travel – everything they were unable to do during this.

But third, biggest of all, there’s something about this craziness that’s different from most of the other awfulness we’ve seen before, or ever will again. Do you know what it is?

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For once in our lives: EVERYONE IS ON OUR SIDE.

You know how, when you play a sport, everyone on the other team wants you to lose, so they can win? Or if you get into an argument, the other person wants to prove you wrong? Or how, way too often, some people dislike or distrust some groups of other people, because of their color or their religion or their nationality?

There’s NONE OF THAT in this! When a person gets sick from this virus, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD wants them to get better. EVERYONE wants you to wash your hands, EVERYONE wants you to stay safe.

So I’m not going to tell you to be happy about this. But maybe you can find some things to enjoy in it. Maybe you get to spend more time with your parents than usual, and have some fun with them while they can’t go to work (I can tell you, I am LOVING having Handsome home so much! I have never gotten so many walks, cuddles, or treats!). Maybe you can catch up on the reading you were supposed to do three months ago, so you’ll get a better grade at school – even if all your classes are online – or learn an instrument. Or get better at that videogame that’s always beaten you.

Or, and here’s my favorite idea, maybe you could take this time to do something absolutely wonderful for someone. Do you have neighbors who need to stay locked in, who could use someone to bring them some food, or take care of their garden, or walk their dogs? You could be that person. Or even just calling them and talking with them, or singing a song.

Do you realize that you kids and we dogs have a superpower in common? We make people happy just by being there, just by giving them a smile or wagging our tails. You and I can be the best part of a person’s day, so easily.

So in the end, yeah, this stinks. But it’s also an adventure. And just like Harry and Hermione and Ron battling Voldemort, or The Avengers battling Thanos, you’re going to have bad days and good ones, victories and losses, and laughs and tears.

But, also like them, you also get to use this time to find out, and show everyone around you, who you really are.

And when we’re all past this rotten time, that’s what people will remember, and that’s what will matter.

For the rest of your amazing, beautiful, and treasured lives.

Be Brave!

Doug-Green-and-Shirelle

Shirelle (with Doug Green)

Shirelle is a Husky Saluki mix, and Handsome (aka Doug Green) is a licensed Marriage and Family
Therapist in Los Angeles. Together they help kids aged 8-15 with social, developmental and emotional
issues that concern them

7 Financial Tips for COVID-19

7 Financial tips for surviving the COVID-19 pandemic

During these turbulent times that the world is facing due to the global pandemic, caused by the Coronavirus aka COVID-19, millions of people are experiencing physical, mental, emotional, and financial uncertainties throughout their personal and business lives.

We are no longer afforded the luxuries of going on with our lives, doing business as usual. As the world faces uncharted territories under COVID 19, we must immediately change how we think about things, change how we look at things, change how we feel about things, and change how we live our lives.

From Main Street to Wall Street our global citizens are feeling the financial stress and strain of losing their business and household income. As this pandemic claims more lives, and renders others in need of specialized medical care, companies are laying off workers or going out of business. It doesn’t matter what country you live in or what currency you use, the pain is same.

We understand the future for many may seem bleak, even with the help of government and corporate assistance.

7 Financial Tips for COVID-19

However, we strongly believe that Financially Speaking, the best improvement starts with self improvement. It is the responsibility of everyone to financially empower ourselves through professional (coaching) and self-education. And there are changes we can make during these times that will put us in a better financial position once our lives get back to normal. However, we can also strive to return to something better.

To get started, we want to share with you our seven tips/strategies we use with our clients that had a tremendous impact on improving their lives financially. We believe they can help reduce the mounting financial stress caused by COVID 19.

  1. Change Your Spending Habits

    – we no longer have the freedom to spend our precious cash on items that have no value. We often hear “I don’t have money to save.” Well, during these times, spend only on your needs (housing, food, medicine, etc.) and practice savingas much as you can.

  1. Calculate Your Current Financial Position

    – if you don’t know where you are standing right now, how can you determine the best direction to move forward? There are 2 calculations that can help determine the strength of your financial position. Their results can be positive or negative, but you will know where you stand and can make adjustments as needed to increase/strengthen your financial position:

    • Net Worth=total value of all your assets (e.g. home, car)minus the total value of all your liabilities (e.g. mortgage, car payment, loans).
    • Track Monthly Cashflow = total monthly income minus total monthly expenses. It is critical to know where your money comes from and where it is going.

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  1. Protect Your Credit

    – there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty regarding losing your home to foreclosure, auto repossessions, and destroying your credit, etc. The good news is that some governments and creditors are making an effort to help during this crisis. But it is your responsibility to contact all your creditors to find out what programs they are offering(e.g. forbearance, rate reductions) and what are the rules.

  1. Make New Money-Start A Business

    – there are numerous businesses you can start from home. Business that can help others while providing you with additional revenue. During this crisis, delivery companies are still operating, you can still ship and receive items. We have several home-based businesses and can share ways you can increase your income.

  1. Review Your Insurance Policies

    – many people don’t like to talk about life insurance, but how will your family survive if you die? How many Go-Fund Me have you received to help pay medical bills or bury a friend or loved one? Now is the time (while you are healthy) to take insurance seriously and put policies in place that not only help your family if you die but can also help you all while you are living. Insurance has changed from just providing a “death” benefit to providing “living” benefits. Educate yourself on the options available.

  1. Investments – Don’t Panic

    – many people have experienced and recovered from market crashes in the past. We can’t tell you what to do with your investment accounts (e.g. IRA, 401K, etc.) because each person’s situation is different. We recommend contacting your investment provider to understand what options you have available to utilize and/or protect your investments. Some questions to consider asking:

    • Can I withdraw funds without penalty?
    • Can I get a loan or defer my payments?
    • Should I buy, hold, or sell out?
  1. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Home

    – not only does it save on fuel expenses that you can add toward your savings, it keeps you, your family and community safer from COVID-19.Use this time to create new/additional family financial habits that can be continued after your lives resume. And most importantly, follow the directives of the authorities.

Michael and Robbie Mathews

Michael and Robbie Mathews

Financial Education and Empowerment Coaches at The Mathews Entrepreneur Group

Educate, Empower, Elevate. We Are Driven By Your Success

Impact-of-Coronavirus-in-the-Workplace

What to do if your employees are anxious about coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is also impacting on employees mental health. But there are things you can do to protect your staff.

There has been an escalation in coronavirus cases globally in the last 48 hours. In response, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s is enacting the pandemic emergency response. We know that there will be a lot of employees experiencing a higher than usual level of stress right now.

From a workplace mental health perspective, during this time of fear and uncertainty, employees may be experiencing:

  • Concern for their health and that of their friends, families and co-workers.
  • Uncertainty about the economic impact on their organisation, and therefore their future employment.
  • Difficulty managing changes in the way they conduct their regular job tasks.
  • Frustration with the uncertainty as to how long this situation will last and how severe it will become
Impact-of-Coronavirus-in-the-Workplace

Learn more about Workplace Mental Health Strategies…


And when people are stressed and fearful, people respond in a variety of ways. And when people are stressed, it is common for people to:

  • become anxious or irritable
  • experience conflict with co-worker’s
  • feel demotivated or disengaged
  • lower their productivity
  • and a whole host of other responses.

Our hearts go out to the many of the workplaces we support that have staff and clients in affected areas, with some either previously or currently in quarantine. Many others are concerned about how the virus might impact their employees and their business in the coming weeks and or months.

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For these reasons, we felt it timely to reach out and let you know about some of the ways in which we are ready to assist you in supporting your teams during this difficult time:

  1. Online training programs – on mental health and wellbeing, resilience and mindfulness specifically but also the opportunity to upskill and keep staff engaged while regular duties might not be possible.
  2. Interactive webinar sessions on how to manage stress and change. Specifically, in the context of the Coronavirus.
  3. Online individual counselling and coaching.
  4. Consulting with leadership teams on workforce wellbeing strategy.

Our qualified, expert mental health professionals in Australia, the UK, and the USA, are ready to deliver support or training in Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and English.

We know that workplaces can be a great source of support to staff, and we’d like to see workplaces come together to look after each other during this time.

Please check the World Health Organization’s (WHO) resources on the Coronavirus (COVID 19)

If there is anything we can do to assist with that, please get in touch. We are here to help.