Radio silence…and leaning into remote conversations

One of my favorite traditions is listening to a few minutes of a radio broadcast from a game before Kayla goes to bed (preferably the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, or an equivalent Boston team). There is almost no night of the year where we can’t find a game to listen to.

Last night was silent. It reminded me of how quiet it was when planes stopped flying after September 11th.

Earlier in the night Shauna and I had a conversation with the girls about how we were healthy, but it was important to do all of the right things during a global pandemic to support people who are immunocompromised. Kayla and I talked about why all of the professional teams had suspended play to help combat spread of COVID-19.

It is a good reminder that we all need to lean into hard, honest conversations about what we know and don’t know about the impact of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

Like all of you, I’ve received dozens of emails from companies and I’ve read many more messages from schools and other organizations about their response to this public health emergency. There is lots of mention of “deep cleaning” and “social distancing” with a thoughtful dose of “we need to care for one another” mixed in.

Those are important, big picture messages. What comes next needs to be more personal.

As organizations of all types begin to figure out how to exist remotely for the foreseeable future, we should remember that we build communities of practice one conversation at a time.

Jerry Larson — managing director at Educational Directions and a colleague whose perspective I’ve come to greatly appreciate — reinforced that idea for me this morning. He was sharing examples of how different schools were going beyond “moving classes online” to thinking about engaging with students and families in personal, albeit remote, ways.

It is small moments and one-on-one discussions that often move the needle the most. We need to find ways to steward what is special about our organizations even if we are temporarily existing in a virtual space.

2008 World Series from

For what it is worth…after our conversation and some silence Kayla and I found a recording of the 2008 World Series. That should do for a few weeks.

I hope you will add your thoughts to the comments below about ways your organization is working to stay in touch with one another.


Ari Betof, President of Organizational Sustainability Consulting

Dr. Ari Betof is the founder and president of Organizational Sustainability Consulting.

Organizational Sustainability Consulting supports the efforts of leaders and board members at independent schools, colleges and universities, membership organizations, other nonprofits, and private sector companies. Ari’s consulting work draws upon considerable experience in leadership and governance using a lens of mission-driven, data-informed decision making. He is a collaborative partner with demonstrated strengths in change leadership and group process. Ari combines broadly applicable nonprofit experience in areas such as governance, leadership development, fundraising, strategic planning, and branding with education-specific expertise in areas including enrollment management and integrated curricular design.




Org Sustainability is a collection of insights, advice, and reflections from Dr. Ari Betof, president of Organizational Sustainability Consulting

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Ari Betof

Ari Betof

Co-Founder and Partner at Mission & Data; Husband; Father; Son

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