One of the many lessons of this awful pandemic is that you can’t tell a leader from the letters in their email signature. You can tell a leader because they’re the one we all turn to when we’re scared and confused.
But when the leader themselves falls victim to the coronavirus, such fear and confusion multiplies. When you hear the news that Boris Johnson has been taken to intensive care with COVID-19, you want to know rather urgently who has their hands on the wheel.
Businesses face this risk all the time, that they rely too heavily on one person to provide the vision, expertise or inspiration, or to hold together disparate personalities. Most will have a strategy for dealing with their leader or other senior figures becoming incapacitated, but rarely will it be designed for a situation as extreme as this, where large segments of the workforce could be out of action at any one time.