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What will be the new normal of education?

03 Jun 2020 / 20:06 H.

    AS we get deeper into the conditional movement control order period, there are questions being raised in dealing with many unknowns. This is a good thing as it drives us towards finding effective and innovative solutions to the issues that rear their head in such situations. Challenges that organisations face are unprecedented and can seem overwhelming.

    It is my belief that every situation can be managed by proper planning and curation. It calls for strong leadership and credible communication, both internal and external. Communication that bonds with different stakeholders and is alert to what is essential to clients is the need of the hour.

    Stakeholders look to leaders to take the right initiatives and bring clarity to a crisis. How leadership handles communications can go a long way in ensuring business effectiveness and cementing relationships with all stakeholders.

    Given the economic decline and social restrictions, there is a lot of uncertainty and fear, which is counter-productive. Hence, it is vital that leaders increase the frequency of communication – nothing calms and motivates people more than to know that there is a plan in place, no matter how tough the situation seems.

    Leaders can look at various forms of internal communications such as blogs, helplines, internal fun social engagement initiatives, virtual communities and town halls. This will not only reduce the distance between the work teams; it will in turn lead to an increased sense of commitment and motivation towards business and work.

    The pandemic has been cataclysmic with its twists and turns and the result is many brands and leaders might feel unprepared to cope with unfolding events. This is why it is important to have a clear strategy backed by an understanding of the pulse of the audience through tools like Online Reputation Management (ORM).

    A well-thought-out communication strategy fuelled by meticulous media monitoring and sentiment analysis might seem a basic necessity but during such a crisis it is significant in getting the narrative right.

    Bringing people together by facilitating community, offering empathy, and providing social support is as important. For instance, SnapChat curated mental health resources into a “Here for You” centre and made it available to users months in advance of its earlier launch date in response to the Covid-19 crisis, demonstrating its caring for its community.

    In time, even as our stark new normal begins to get clearer, to assume anything is folly. Together, we will see these tough times pass. But beyond the fragility of the way life works at the moment, we have a golden opportunity to discover new ideas, rethink old assumptions and create new magic. By doing this we can emerge from this global crisis stronger, wiser and more prepared for future challenges.

    R. Murali Rajaratenam

    Kuala Lumpur

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