Leadership webinar series​ ​ ​ ​

To support leaders at this time, McKinsey is offering a complimentary series of webinars with local and global experts who will share insights on leadership practices.

The situation now

COVID-19 has seen a consistent case decline in countries that had experienced rapid case growth early (esp. China, South Korea).

However, cases outside of Asia are growing dramatically, driven primarily by complexes in Europe and the Middle East. The United States, while it has confirmed only a limited number of new cases, appears to be set for a large increase in cases once testing kits become widely available.

Possible future scenarios

Delayed Recovery: The virus continues to spread across the Middle East, Europe and US until mid Q2, when virus seasonality combined with a stronger public health response drives case load reduction.

Prolonged Contraction: The virus spreads globally without a seasonal decline, creating a demand shock that lasts until Q2 2021. Health systems are overwhelmed in many countries, especially the poorest, with large-scale human and economic impact.

Leadership implications

Leadership will matter. There are several considerations:

  • Protect employees
  • Give co-workers a strong sense of shared purpose
  • Stress-test financials
  • Stabilize the supply chain
  • Engage customers


Updated 16 March 2020


Webinar 1:

Leadership in a crisis

Wednesday 25 March 2020

1:00pm to 2:15pm AEDT

The task of leading during a sustained crisis — whether you are the CEO of a major corporation or a manager heading up an impromptu company initiative — is treacherous. Crisis leadership has two distinct phases. First is that emergency phase, when your task is to stabilise the situation and buy time. Second is the adaptive phase, when you tackle the underlying needs of the crisis and build the capacity to thrive in a new reality.

Meet Dr. Ron Heifetz

Dr Ron Heifetz will be hosting our first webinar ‘Leadership in a crisis’ drawn from his research in crisis management which focuses on how to build adaptive capacity in societies, businesses and non-profits. Dr Heifetz’s is co-founder of the Cambridge Leadership Academy and the founding director of the Centre for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Dr Heifetz’s first book ‘Leadership without Easy Answers’​ is a classic in the field. It is read widely as a foundational text, and it is one of the 10 most assigned course books at Harvard and Duke Universities. Dr Heifetz’s also co-authored ‘The Practice of Adaptive Leadership’​ with Marty Linsky and Alexander Grashow.

Webinar 2:

Meeting our growing challenges

Wednesday 1 April 2020

4:00pm to 5:15pm AEDT

As the world braces for the unknown, we find ourselves often feeling unprepared for what we collectively face. We see that some humans are able to use such challenges to become bigger versions of themselves; more creative, more connected, more effective than ever before. Others, though, turn into smaller versions; more afraid, angry, or unhelpful than ever. How do we grow ourselves to evolve faster than the challenges we face? A discussion about the ways adults can change the capacities with which they face the world and how you can support this change in yourself and others.

Meet Dr. Jennifer Garvey Berger

Jennifer will be hosting our second webinar and is an internationally recognised expert in the field of adult development and complexity thinking. She believes that the best organisations help make people more creative and capable; and that organisations can and should be places where we live on our growing edge, expanding our own capabilities as we do good work. Leadership, then, is about creating the conditions for people to be their biggest selves. Jennifer is the author of​ Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, and co-author of Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders. She holds a BA in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and a masters and a doctorate from Harvard University.

Webinar 3:
Preserving psychological safety

Wednesday 8 April 2020

8:00am to 9:00am AEST

Transparency is 'job one' for leaders in a crisis. Be clear what you know, what you don’t know, and what you’re doing to learn more. Organisations that get serious about building the capacity to thrive must first encourage people to speak up honestly about the current problems they see. Alas, transparency simply will not happen without psychological safety: a climate in which people can raise questions, concerns, and ideas without fear of personal repercussion. This is particularly true in the supercharged atmosphere of a crisis. Without psychological safety, the higher the stakes of the situation; the greater the risk a person feels they are assuming in speaking up.

Meet Dr. Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. Amy has been recognised by the biannual Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers since 2011, and most recently was ranked #3 in 2019; she also received that organisation’s Breakthrough Idea Award in 2019, and Talent Award in 2017.  She studies teaming, psychological safety, and organisational learning. Her most recent book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth, offers a practical guide for organisations serious about success in the modern economy.

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