#WayForward with Robert Straw, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), CEO Zurich Campus, Horgen, Switzerland

In my series #WayForward, CEOs tell us what they do in coronavirus times. Robert Straw, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), CEO Zurich Campus, goes first.

#WayForward visual with Robert Straw, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), CEO Zurich Campus, Horgen, Switzerland

The Swiss campus is the European subsidiary of China’s leading business school and it has been dramatically affected. We have not hosted any incoming executives since December – which encompasses a large part of our activities.

I am most worried about the side effect – the pressure it has put on financial markets globally. Firms and countries are already embracing the word recession. My advice to CEOs is quite simple: Be calm. Make clear and rational decisions quickly. Communicate daily with your people and take any fear communicated seriously. CEIBS Switzerland has a daily wellbeing call with all staff during which we exclusively focus on the physical and mental health of everyone.

We want to be better known outside of Asia, too, and the pandemic provides us with a new perspective on how to approach clients, partners, team, processes and programs. We also expect firms and individuals to express a renewed and deeper level of need for executive and continuing education after all of this has quieted down.

Robert on the physical and mental stress: “We are not used to working at home, perhaps with children at home from school and perhaps our partners also needing to work from home. We are not used to reading about thousands of people in our and neighboring countries having a potentially deadly virus. We are not used to death in epic proportions. It is important for us to ensure that physical and mental fitness is upheld. This is the base for psychological safety, great teamwork and high performing teams – not to mention fostering great communication across our organization.”

Robert on what CEIBS Switzerland currently do business-wise: “We are refocusing our efforts and methodology on how to work and collaborate. In addition, we are putting together valuable online content to support all the companies and leaders in need of inputs on how to deal with the current situation. Despite this challenge, we are focusing on partnerships, business development, branding initiatives, designing, launching and marketing new programs – and finding new and creative ways to do these activities.”

Robert on how the virus changes society: “The pandemic will help everyone to adapt a more globally focused mindset in the sense of “think global, act local”. It will also dramatically increase everyone’s technological capabilities, across all ages.

#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 being discussed.