For Such A Time As This: Resources for Chiefs of Staff During Covid-19

May 1, 2020 (Adapted from my newsletter, The Briefing. Originally published March 25, 2020.)

Did you ever stop to think that maybe you’re in the position you’re in for such a time as this? It’s been a couple weeks, hasn’t it?

I became a sudden home-school dad of 3 while trying to graduate our first Chief of Staff Mastermind Cohort and launch our second, deliver on other existing client/coaching commitments, follow up on research, and deliver content. As Cubmaster at our kids’ Cub Scout Pack, I was helping us shift to virtual pack and den meetings, only to find out that we were maybe the first Cub Scout unit in the country to ever go virtual for these meetings, so I’ve picked up some consulting duties along those lines and put together a how-to-guide for others trying to do the same.

Some of you have been sharing even wilder stories, involving thousands of employees on a global scale amidst disrupted supply chains, absenteeism, and geopolitical turmoil – with a 2-year old climbing on you as you take your concall from the bathroom. But for the most part, you are reporting that you are healthy and well. And that’s something. Please take every measure you can to remain that way, and let me know how I can support.

This issue of The Briefing will focus on resources for helping you not just cope – but thrive – in the current environment, so let’s dive in.

Crisis Management for Chiefs of Staff
In case you missed the McChrystal Group’s excellent forum this past Wed on (Covid-19) Crisis Management for Chiefs of Staff, they have made the tools and frameworks widely available and asked participants to share.

Here is the webinar recording (, with contact info for getting the tools and templates.

New Tool for Communication in Fluid Situations
If you are managing a war room/crisis situation for your CEO/leadership team, what if you could pull calendar, contacts, documents, and tools into one view, glean insights from each, and prioritize and track work more efficiently on the fly? Check out the BriefingLine app ( Our Chief of Staff Mastermind Cohort caught an advance demo, but this is the new app a lot of people need NOW. Visit the site or connect with Andy Clymer on LinkedIn for more details or a demo.

Resources for Working (Suddenly) Remotely, from Your CoS Peers
There has been so much posted online in recent weeks about working remotely, but this input from your peers should help you filter to the most essential info and adjust to your current strategy in real time.


Emilie Shario, Internal Strategy Consultant on the CoS team at all-remote GitLab, shared a wealth of info on working remote:

Two more articles that Emilie thinks might be extra useful during the current situation:

Emilie points to, but notes that it’s a short link to the GitLab remote manifesto, and the resources page is probably better:

But with so many tools, processes, and things to think about, Emilie also made a point of bringing the human side of things:
1. Be intentional about getting out of the house. You may be WFH, but that doesn’t mean you’re not leaving your house. Walk your dog or just go for a walk. Get the mail from the mailbox every day. Don’t become trapped in your house.
2. Try setting up a virtual coffee chat with someone for 30 minutes every day. Or a virtual lunch. Zoom is free for 40 minute long calls. Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you can’t socialize!
3. Repurpose your commuting time into something fun: an extra hour per day? read a book! start a new hobby! Do a yoga routine from youtube! The possibilities are endless!



Zapier’s remote CoS, Stephen Levin, shares this “ask me anything” webinar session on the sudden remote workforce, where his CEO, Wade Foster, invited a panel of CEOs from Trello to HubSpot to Wildbit to MeetEdgar: (links to article with embedded recording).


Stay healthy out there,

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