Everyone looks to the top when things change dramatically: Nova’s Cathy O’Connor

Speaking to Ernst & Young Managing Partner Jenelle McMaster on the Change Happens podcast, NOVA Entertainment CEO Cathy O’Connor discussed her leadership during the COVID 19 pandemic.

When Richard Wilkins was asked to self-isolate after displaying symptoms of coronavirus, and others such as Fitzy who had been in contact with him also had to isolate, Cathy and her leadership team had to act fast in its communications, being honest and real about the approach they were taking.

They did the best they could. “Sometimes leadership communications don’t always have to be a masterpiece.”

O’Connor’s message to staff was, “first and foremost, your safety is everything to us. The rest can wait. We’ll work out how the business can operate, but you must stay safe. You must stay at home.”

In this episode McMaster and O’Connor discuss leadership and shifting business paradigms in a remote working world. Speaking about what she has learnt from this experience, O’Connor told McMaster:

“What I’ve observed over the last six weeks or so is that everyone looks to the top when things change dramatically. Whether it’s pressure in the revenue lines, or people starting to feel anxious about what’s happening from an employment and job security point of view. As a leader, these are the great opportunities to lead. My response to that is to get on the front foot and get communicative. That’s been the underlying theme…

“Life is going on albeit in a very different set of operating circumstances to what we’re usually dealing with…

We upgraded our broadcast systems to allow our announcers to move from state to state where they might be doing stand up comedy shows or TV appearances and so forth. It was all there [but the virus] has caused us to review again that concept of what the perfect broadcast setup is. Is everyone in the room together with the the organic sort of chemistry that happens and the bouncing off each other… I don’t think people would know the difference, and in many cases working from home with people’s kids and so forth around creates a new basis for content. It’s real it’s a reflection of what’s going on in everyone’s life.”






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