As CEO of Avanoo, I want to share with you a personal update about our response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, which last week was classified by the WHO as a global pandemic.
We believe our new StoryApp is uniquely suited to meet the cultural challenges organizations are facing at this moment, and we’ve decided to make the app available for free at least through May during this time of confusion, isolation, and “social distancing”. Here’s why.
This is a uniquely challenging time. People are suffering. Whole economies are shutting down. Quarantines and office closures are forcing millions of employees to work remotely – many for the first time in their careers – while others fear more for their own health, and the health of their families, each day they come to work.
Here at Avanoo we’ve asked all of our employees to work from home, and we are indefinitely suspending all of our in-person workshops and other activities – which make up much of our business. Chances are your organization is making similar difficult choices.
When we face such big, scary changes, it’s easy for culture to take a backseat to confusion and anxiety. But my team and I believe culture – and specifically storytelling – is the most important ingredient for businesses to navigate these changes successfully.
Sharing our stories is the best way to stay connected in an uncertain world. It’s the best way to give each other space to name our fears and anxieties and to share the mindsets & behaviors that help us stay calm, safe, focused, and productive. And it’s the best way to reinforce and align around the values that unite people, teams, and organizations to grow through challenges, adapt quickly to change, and continue to thrive.
At Avanoo, we notice so many of us choosing to help in this time of need: The father of one of my teammates is a doctor coming out of retirement to serve. A spouse of another teammate is a clergywoman opening her doors for parishioners. Even my own mother, who recently had brain surgery, is leading a volunteer support group for people who now find themselves alone, afraid, and trapped inside four walls.
We want to help too. After convening an organization-wide meeting to talk about how we could best serve, our team made a unanimous decision: we will make our StoryApp available for free to any organization that needs it during the coronavirus pandemic period – at least through May.
The Avanoo StoryApp enables even the largest teams to stay connected and reinforces their sense of belonging by sharing and listening to stories – and it allows leaders to see, with natural language processing, where the biggest needs arise.
To get access to the app, at least one organizational leader must attend one of our virtual town halls. During the town hall you will learn about neuroscience and data science that can keep people connected, and you will learn how to set up the app to scale the power of stories to all of your employees.
We feel grateful that the work we do – which for many of us is a lifelong calling – may help support you and your team at a time when our stories matter more than ever before. I look forward to connecting personally with you soon, as I will be co-leading town halls starting Tuesday March 17, with my friend and best-selling author, Brian Biro.
Above all, thank you, also, for doing your part in keeping yourself, your family, your team, and your community safe and connected.
With love and support,
Daniel Jacobs is a husband, father, inventor, and storyteller. His work has been featured on Fortune, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Apple News, HuffPost, and most major news publications in the United States. He is CEO and co-founder of Avanoo, which uses the power of stories to drive connection, belonging, and performance in the workplace.
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