#WayForward with Christoph von Toggenburg, CEO World Vision Switzerland

#WayForward with Christoph von Toggenburg, CEO World Vision Switzerland

In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what's on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Christoph von Toggenburg, CEO of World Vision Switzerland, sees things.

2 members of our 45+ staff caught the virus. At that time – before the official lockdown in Switzerland – the team was already in their home offices. We anticipated early what was to be expected. Based on my 10 years of leadership experience in war zones, we acted early and fast.

In the past, we normally experienced catastrophic events in poorer nations. People in wealthier regions saw the terrible pictures and helped us to help, especially the children. But this is the first-ever time in our 70 years of existence that a crisis spans the globe – including our donor countries. Currently, we are responding in 70 countries and I hope that our donors will be with us now as much as they were in the past.

My tip for CEOs is to focus on the vision versus the worries. Our team has grown together and that is one of the main opportunities today. On top of that: You’re never leading alone. Be super agile. Everybody is under a lot of pressure. Therefore, when things go wrong, don’t buy into the blame and shame game. Lead with compassion and vision.

Christoph on some of his worries:

1) "How will our team members who live by themselves deal with the feelings of loneliness? Two months in, fortunately, we seem to be doing quite well."

2) "Are we learning enough from this? The climate crisis, for instance, has similarities to COVID. You don’t see it, but it destroys. And we need to take massive action now."

3) "Ruanda has only 32 beds in Intensive Care Units – for the whole country. How can we help to decrease child mortality today?"

4) "Our hotline for kids and families in Mongolia has received 120% more calls since the lockdown. Domestic violence has risen drastically globally these days, affecting the most vulnerable."

Christoph has published a Linkedin article with the title “How the Corona (Covid-19) outbreak becomes a powerful catalyst for transformative leadership”. Get a glimpse of the contents:

  • Forget everything you know about leadership
  • Be a commander
  • Leaders eat last
  • Thank
  • Communicate
  • Predict and Plan
  • Fear is a bad advisor
  • Disrupt and learn fast
  • You are not alone but connected
  • Everyone is a leader

#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series' Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.

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