Leadership Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | June 07, 2020
In navigating an unprecedented and epochal global crisis, each country, city, county, and province has had its own unique challenges and afflictions as well as experiencing common hardships with other countries and nations. Approaches varied. Some worked. Some didn't. But with them all, there was a steep learning curve that, at this writing of 90 days into the pandemic, has not even come close to plateauing.
In observing what was effective, it became apparent that leadership was the core component in how a country or a nation fared, regardless of where it was in the pandemic cycle. The actions and performances of government officials, health care experts, and business leaders in the United States has served as a Master Class in leadership, not only on what great leadership IS but what it is not.
Particularly top of mind was Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International. Almost overnight, as travel came to a screeching halt worldwide, leaders were faced with the excruciating decisions to mitigate their financial losses. Closing hotels would leave employees without incomes and job prospects were bleak.
Mr. Sorensen was one of the very first industry leaders to take a stand. In a video to the employees of Marriott's 7,000 properties in 131 countries, he shared his heartfelt message. At the same time, Mr. Sorensen has his own personal crisis to deal with as he is under treatment for pancreatic cancer. But he fulfilled his responsibilities as a leader by identifying many issues affecting the lives of the Marriott employees.
It served as an example to the industry on the merits of quickly dealing with a crisis in a decisive and compassionate manner. It is no surprise that Marriott was recently awarded the designation of most trusted hotel brand by The Hotel Trust Index.