The coronavirus had an impact on normal life everywhere. Mobility, event-organising, physical meetings, etc. were all subjects of far-going restrictions. This was not different for the RINGS project. The Erasmus+ co-financed project, launched to implement a more systematic approach to the strategic management of NOCs, saw also its agenda limited by the COVID-19 crisis. The May-meeting on strategic management that would normally have taken place in Vilnius, had to be cancelled. Three webinars were therefore organised in June as a replacement. The webinars focussed on the exchange of good practices and lessons learnt regarding crisis management of NOCs during the pandemic as well as on the content of the RINGS handbook on strategic management of the NOCs.

COVID-19 as an example of crisis situation

The first webinar on 10 June brought together again the RINGS partners and reminded the consortium why the RINGS project was launched, and more importantly launched the discussion on external crisis impacting NOCs management and showed what can be learnt from the COVID-19 crisis. Participants were able to share the organisational and management adaptations they implemented to battle the current crisis. During this discussion, their preparedness for an external crisis, the adaptation of needed changes, management needs and existing structures and relations were shared. After this exchange, Heidi Pekkola, RINGS Project Manager, presented why the COVID-19 situation can be perfectly used as an example of an unexpected external crisis impacting the management of the NOCs. In her intermediate conclusions, she highlighted that it is important to be ready for unexpected situations that could impact organisational and management aspects.

Handbook on the focus of second and third webinar

The discussions of the second and third RINGS webinars on 15 and 18 June focused on the content of one of the main outputs of the RINGS project – a handbook on strategic management. Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, explained how the discussions would proceed and highlighted that the handbook will be drafted as customised as possible. The aim of the RINGS project is namely to make all NOCs able to implement a more systematic approach to the strategic management. The handbook will be a main tool in introducing necessary means to organise processes and implement needed management structures. The Work Package of the handbook is led by Prof. Dr. Holger Preuss from the Gutenberg University Mainz. Together with his colleagues Dr. Norbert Schütte and Prof. Dr. Christiana Schallhorn, they went through the planned content of the handbook asking feedback from the partners. The interaction level of the webinar was subsequently raised through the exchange of good practices relating to change and strategic management. These exchanges are very important for the further development of the handbook to reinforce it.

Heidi Pekkola concluded the webinars by thanking all participants for their presence and valuable contributions. The aim is to have the next transnational meetings in November in Athens. However, this is to be confirmed due to the current situation.

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