Loyola University Chicago

Loyola Business Leadership Hub

Housed in the Quinlan School of Business


You are not alone. Loyola is here for YOU.

You are not alone. Loyola is here for YOU.

Dear members, friends, and colleagues:
I'm afraid that starting every email with "I hope you and your family are well and safe" begins to sound trite—but the truth isn’t trite. At the Family Business Center we are here with you for the long haul and invite you to contact us for help or just to listen.

Social distancing and the holidays

For many of you, this past week brings Passover, Holy Week, and/or a long holiday weekend. Because of so much uncertainty and disruption these days, you may be tempted to ignore or blow past the family traditions and rituals that so many of your values are based upon. I hope, instead, that you find a creative way to honor the family traditions that sustain you. Social distancing asks us to stay apart, but I hope you and your families can be resourceful (Sedar or Easter via Zoom, anyone?) and catch your breath before the coming week.

Leading in times of crisis

I’ve compiled some more resources for you, your business, and your family. No one goes it alone, though—I got assist from the talented executive coach Mary Nelson and Andrew Keyt who summarized a recent online interview with Dr. David Rock.

Dr. Rock is the Co-founder and CEO at the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work, Quiet Leadership, and Coaching with the Brain in Mind. During his recent interview he tackled the problem of staying focused during the COVID-19 disruption. Here are some highlights:

How leaders often behave in a crisis

  1. Work ourselves into the ground
  2. Just drive for results
  3. Try to do everything and cover all of the bases

In reality, because of the stress of the crisis, we naturally lose capacity—and yet we continue to act as though we are still functioning at full capacity.

What helps?  Understand the three levels of stress in a crisis and their impact on brain function.

Level 1 Threat: Relatively adaptive stress (ex. I hear a lion roar at a distance – i.e. The virus is in China). This level of stress can help us focus, knowing that we need to plan for something, but it can also reduce creativity.

Level 2 Threat: High alert (ex. The lion is in our environment – i.e. The virus is in the US.).  Alarm systems are activated and we prepare to run.  Now our cognitive resources are significantly degraded and may not be able to solve complex problems.

Level 3 Threat: Survival mode (ex. The lion is in front of us – i.e. People are dying, workforce is affected, businesses are shutdown). Now we have a huge spike in cortisol and adrenaline and we are not thinking or digesting food… can’t focus on work… because our only focus is the threat.

How leaders can be most effective

  1. Manage yourself and your capacity (don’t burn yourself out).
  2. Connect with your teams. Attend to their emotions and stress so they don’t get depleted.  Help them moderate their stress so that they can stay as much as possible at Level 1.
  3. Manage to your real capacity. Because of our reduction in capacity we can’t do everything. Focus laser-like on what’s most important and let go of the rest, for now.

If you're interested in learning more, here is the link to Dr. Rock's interview: How To Stay Focused in Times of Coronavirus Disruption.

Did you listen to Friday’s webinar?

I hope you were able to catch the webinar on Resilient Family Businesses with Andrew Keyt broadcast last Friday. If you missed it the recording sits on the Loyola Leadership Hub’s new COVID-19 resource webpage. Here you will find webinars, insights, and resources that the HUB Centers have created to help support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.  You’ll also find my Friday letters to members (just like the one you’re reading now) alongside other resources.

Upcoming webinar

Our next webinar will be April 24th and will focus on how to leverage your board during times of crisis. Guest speakers will be Andrew and Joe Astrachan. Andrew, Joe, and Claudia Astrachan wrote a great white paper on this topic. (If you’ve been paying close attention you may remember that we had originally scheduled our next webinar for April 17—because of speaker availability, we had to bump it up a week.)

Register for the webinar here

Kudos to our dedicated coaches!

PAG Leaders and NGLI coaches have been booking check-in calls with their individual member participants. They are volunteering their time to do this and are offering help to you and the Center wherever they can.  If you need more support and help, please let us know by calling me at 312.915.7738 or or emailing me.

Loyola’s response

Loyola has quickly responded to the COVID-19 crisis, moving all classes on-line (Herculean effort), communicating to students, faculty and staff with transparency and concern.  I have been proud of the administration’s leadership and communication.  Dr. Rooney and other senior leaders are posting daily messages on the Loyola COVID-19 webpage.  Kevin Steven’s (Dean of Quinlan) has been available and transparent about inevitable changes that are being forecast.

Virtual engagement strategies

The Business Leadership Hub is leading efforts to compile and organize Quinlan’s virtual engagement strategy to support businesses, students, and communities.  I’ll include updates about this in the weeks ahead and you can also visit the Hub’s website.

There is much more happening but these are the highlights. In the interim, please feel free to contact me by email or cell at 708-650-0645.  Please stay safe and stay strong and thank you. These letters are meant to support our members and friends and to provide resources and offer support. If you have family members who aren’t receiving our emails, but who would like to be included, please let me know and we will add them to our list, or you can have them join using this link.