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COVID19 – A Communication Breakdown – What can we learn?


The first rule of effective communication is LISTEN!

The COVID 19 pandemic, The virus, which originated in central China’s Hubei Province has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far with 10,000 deaths in Europe alone, it has now become an epicenter of the deadly virus – if not controlled will single handedly destroy lives both directly and economically. 

Based on an article published in the Mint. Below is the timeline of events that transpired in Wuhan, and clearly shows some gaps that we can learn from. 

What we clearly can understand from this is, it was not the problem of the channels available, but a breakdown in basic human behavior. 

Listening is one of the most important aspect of any communication. You may talk or share but if the right people are ignoring what you want to say, the entire effort will be futile. So always listen, to the point of at least a level one action / investigation.  

Fear is one of the major reasons for the teams ignoring all the red flags. If an environment is fostered with fear, people tend to hide and cover up their faults. The fear could be simply be a fear of outcome, and that sometimes restricts us from doing the right thing. Always create a positive environment where people are welcome to make mistakes, and open share them, this will help in a learning for everyone, and at the same time keep everyone alert.

Trust is a double-edged sword. It is only when you trust, you will be cheated, but it is a risk that we all have to live with and trust our team members, friends, colleagues, etc. to always work in our benefit. At the same time, you need to trust your judgment too, irrespective of what anyone says, you could be wrong but at least it put it out there and someone will listen.

Ego is our unconscious bias that triggers in and tells you, how can we be wrong! Ego of an individual may still be a bit easy to control, however when it takes from of a group, organisation or a nation, it is devastating and spares no one. So, kill your Ego right at the start and do not let it multiply. 

Animals tend to sometimes feel safe by closing their eyes and thinking that if no one is watching everything is going to be OK. But the facts do not change and what will happen with happen, sometimes attack is the best defense, and to enable that we need to play to our strengths. 


Hope, everyone is listening!


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