Governor Cuomo has rightly earned the respect of the nation for his strong and vocal leadership during the COVID-19 crisis – and the praise has been non-partisan. In the domestic area most dramatically affected by COVID-19, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated that he is a strong and consistent advocate for New York state and its residents.
He’s doing so many things right, but most notably:
- Forthright and transparent sharing of the facts – good and bad.
- Emotional connection to all constituents.
- Personalization of the message and story, often invoking his own mother’s name.
- Very specific calls to action.
- Consistent updates as the situation has evolved.
- Visualization of his key content to make it easier to retain.
- Regular cadence of communication.
- Long-term optimism regarding the future. He’s providing hope for a better day.
And the Governor’s leadership has not fallen on deaf ear. His daily briefings have become some of the most popular content available on TV, and his statewide approval has soared. In a poll conducted on March 30, his favorability reached 71%, 27 points higher than just a month earlier.
Governor Cuomo’s success has made several things clear:
- In times of panic with a rapidly changing environment and a slew of conflicting information, facts trump speculation.
- Transparency is vital. Establishing credibility as a primary source of information minimizes conjecture and keeps your audience away from the gap that can lead to misinformation.
- Delivering bad news directly followed by solutions to remediate will always be more effective than sugarcoating. That isn’t to say that simply laying out a plan is enough to satisfy. You have to outline the specific steps that you will take to achieve goals and be consistent, clear, and communicative as you enact those plans.
I would strongly encourage leaders of any organization to watch his daily briefings. He’s doing it the right way and there is much to learn from his daily actions and leadership.