Are You Communicating Enough at this Critical Time?

It’s Week Three of the lockdown.  I’ve continued to stay connected with clients and others in my network. Even after 21 days of working at home with the entire family in attendance, we are still figuring this out as we go. We are in this together.

Surprisingly, an interesting leadership insight emerged on the home front during this time.

My two sons, who attend the same university, are now studying from home.

When talk of the initial lockdown started to take place a few weeks back, their university took swift action. An email went out to students and parents telling them that the university was going to shut down for four days. The purpose of the shutdown was to give professors time to migrate their courses and lectures to online delivery. The university administration also decided that final exams would be done virtually as take-home exams.

My sons had immediate clarity as to what was going to happen. Once their courses started up again, they didn’t skip a beat. The only difference was that they were now at home continuing with their studies, rather than being on campus.

Now, contrast this with the experience of my daughter, who is in high school and grade 11. There was an initial brief communication saying that schools would close for three weeks, but there was little supporting information at the time. One of my daughter’s teachers attempted to move his course online but was prevented from continuing. I suspect the school board wanted a unified strategy moving forward, which makes sense. But it frustrated my daughter and her classmates.

To this date, there is still a lack of clarity regarding the way forward. There are rumors about the virtual delivery of courses,  but no clear plan has been communicated yet.

I can see the stress and anxiety this is creating for my daughter: Will there be any classes online? Will we be able to complete this academic year? Will the school year be cancelled?

Granted, my sons, like many other college and university students, were just a few weeks away from wrapping up their academic year.  In many ways, they were a bit lucky with the timing.

Even so, it has been fascinating to observe how two institutions have responded to the same crisis in very different ways, resulting in a radically different impact on the students they serve.


Let’s keep in touch