How to Provide Certainty with the Coronavirus looming

The Coronavirus is causing tremendous uncertainty. How can we as leaders reduce the uncertainty and reduce the impact on our team, organization, and community?

Be Compassionate. Compassion is the best business practice, especially in times of trauma. When we care for our employees, customers, vendors, and community, we find the best ROI.

Those that follow me know that compassion requires four steps: notice, feel (for them from their perspective), think strategically, and then acting at the appropriate time. Notice that compassion looks for the source of the pain.

Murfield Coaching works with clients to solve significant problems with disruptive thinking. In our executive coaching, training, speaking, and mastermind sessions, we utilize 17 ways of thinking disruptively to shift paradigms and solve specific client problems.  The primary problem facing organizations today is the addressing the Coronavirus and its worldwide reaction.

As we lead with compassion, we can identify much of their pain by looking at their uncertainty.


At the time of this writing (March 9, 2020), the virus is spreading quickly and there is no known cure. People are dying at a higher rate than the normal flu. That’s a serious problem in and of itself. We fear harm coming to us and our loved ones.

Those fears are very real but dig deeper and we find that one of the biggest problems we face is uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen. That uncertainty amplifies the fears and causes many more problems, leaving some of the verge of panic.

Panic solves nothing.

So what do we do?

We stop and notice. There are four critical areas of uncertainty that we face with this epidemic: Physical, Financial, Family, and Social.


  • Will I catch the virus?
  • What symptoms will I have?
  • Will I die?
  • Will I be quarantined?
  • If so, for how long?


  • Will my family catch it?
  • What symptoms will they get?
  • Will any of them die?
  • Will they need to be quarantined?
  • If so, what will I be able to do?


  • Will I be able to work from home?
  • Will I get paid if I’m out?
  • Will the economy tank?
  • If so, will I still have a job when it is over?


  • If I don’t get paid, how will I pay my bills?

Providing Certainty

Leading with compassion means coming alongside our team to help them alleviate their pain. In this case, that means feeling their pain and then communicating to reduce their uncertainty.

Even though we don’t have all the answers and cannot foretell the future, we can help alleviate the pain of our employees, customers, vendors, and business associates by sharing what we do know and what we will do. Failing to communicate in a crisis leaves leaders looking like they don’t care. Below are 7 ways you can reduce their uncertainty by showing compassion.

  1. Meet with your executive team and listen to their concerns. Revisit your core values. Ask your team, “Are these the values we will stand on during this crisis?”
  2. Construct compassionate policies. Build the wisest policy concerning attendance, illness, treatment, work responsibilities, pay, etc. Remember, what you do or fail to do during this time will tell employees and customers what you really think of them. Are they trusted team members that you value and will work to save? Or are they expendable in the face of profits?
  3. Track the needs of your entire team from executives to front line staff to customers, vendors, and the community.
  4. Hold an all hands meeting. Listen to their concerns. Share what you know and what you will do. Be careful to address each of the four aspects of their uncertainty plus an additional ones they voice.
  5. Send out an email detailing your action plan.
  6. Mode your policy. Be seen doing what you say. One of the biggest concerns is unsanitary surfaces. Since we cannot see germs, have your cleaners visibly cleaning frequently. Wash your hands frequently. Keep your distance. Do all that the CDC recommends.
  7. Reassure your team of your commitment to them. Compassion is caring for others. We know others care when they tell us they care but even more, when they show they care. This is a time where we do both, show it and say it. (Unless you have no commitment to them. If that is the case, we need to have a conversation to show you that compassion is the best business practice with the highest ROI.)

Check back tomorrow as we provide the fearall eight areas of concern and identify the fears behifor checklists for

Blog Schedule

  • Mind Shift Monday features a powerful quote that sets the tone for a week of innovative thinking.
  • Thinking Bigger Tuesday expands on the topic and provides pillar content of innovative thinking.
  • Why Not Wednesday introduces you to books, articles and research that I have found useful in solving significant problems with innovative thinking.
  • Transformational Thursday explores a TED Talk on the topic of the week. These talks are likely taken from the ones I have featured in my TED Talk Think Tank mastermind for radical change over the last five years.
  • Far Out Friday features crazy ideas that just might lead to solving your persistent problem.

Learn to Listen Effectively




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

We work with leaders and organizations to solve significant problems with innovative thinking. What problem is frustrating you? Contact us today.

The most important books you should have on your self to solve Coronavirus problem are: “The ROI of COMPASSION” and, “Leading with the Power of Compassion.

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