Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge
The key to wholehearted acceptance of and sustained support for a visionary Azure Blue leader resides not in telling two different stories on different occasions (often to different audiences) but in telling one story that bridges the gap and provides integration (Bergquist, 2020). The effective Azure Blue leader tells a compelling story from the past that bridges to the future, or (in the case of the COVID-19 crisis) that encompasses both fiscal and social responsibility. It is a sacred story that successfully conveys secular values. It is a story that is both realistic and hopeful. While this story often involves something about the visionary leader’s own life and struggles with complexity and contradiction, it must also resonate with and align with the stories and personal aspirations of those hearing or reading this story. There is a phrase which usually reads: “think globally but act locally.” This same sentiment, slightly revised, can apply to visionary COVID-19 related stories: Make them personal and local, but be sure that they speak to a much larger and diverse constituency.
Given that visionary Azure Blue leadership is dependent on the right place and the right time, it is also important that the vision is articulated at the right time and in the right place. While Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address still appeals to us today, it is profound in large part because it was given at a commemoration ceremony for those soldiers who died during the bloody battle at Gettysburg. Lincoln is literally “consecrating” the ground where these young men were buried. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech was similarly given on a particularly auspicious occasion (a major civil rights march on Washington D.C.) and at a very patriotic location (in front of the Lincoln Memorial). The visionary leader must pick the special time and place when offering a visionary statement.
Visionary/Azure Blue Strategies
Where and when does the visionary Azure Blue leader find this special place and time and how does the delivery of this vision enable a broader, widely accepted strategy? This is a critical decision—and one that is particularly appropriate in our time of COVID-19. I propose that there are five primary criteria regarding the nature of an effective statement of vision. These five criteria tell us something about when and where we should offer a vision. I will first briefly identify these criteria and then suggest how these criteria help us identify an appropriate vision.