- Cam Buchan
- May 1, 2020
In an exclusive experience for Ivey MBA students, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz outlined the Bank’s monetary policy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted the leadership lessons he has taken from an event that is “still in motion.”
Governor Poloz spoke to students during the MBA Teachable Moments Virtual Speaker Series, a program designed to provide Ivey MBAs with unprecedented access to accomplished leaders. During the series, students hear firsthand the leadership challenges faced, and the insights leaders gain, as they navigate the global pandemic.
A Q&A with Governor Poloz and students was moderated by Assistant Professor Romel Mostafa, Director of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management.
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In his published remarks as posted on the Bank of Canada website, called Teachable Moments from the Pandemic, Governor Poloz noted how the events of the past few weeks clearly fit the definition of a “teachable moment.”
“It is very worthwhile to think about them now when things are still fresh—indeed, so fresh that the episode is still in motion,” he said in his remarks to Ivey students.
He noted how, for much of 2018-19, Canada’s economy was operating near its full capacity. And then came COVID-19.
“The good news is that we began this episode with a healthy economy, inflation on target, and the unemployment rate at its lowest in 40 years. Just as a healthy, fit individual is more likely to shake off COVID-19, so is the Canadian economy.”
Governor Poloz detailed how scenario planning has played a central role in the Bank’s responses to the crisis so far, and he expects that process to continue as events unfold.
Leadership lessons for Ivey students
Governor Poloz also outlined the leadership lessons from the experience:
- Diversity of past experience pays when blazing a new trail;
- Crises are exhausting — a deep personnel bench is a key part of resilience;
- Over-invest in technology and business continuity preparedness; and,
- Stay in touch with staff — even the ordinary things must still happen.
He also highlighted the lessons he has gained, including how crisis conditions argue for vigorous, even out-sized, responses because maintaining confidence is critical to the recovery.
Governor Poloz received a master’s degree in economics in 1979 and a PhD in economics in 1982, both from Western University. He also delivered an address as part of the Western’s President’s Lecture Series in February 2015.