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Anticipate & Adjust: Week 2 - Communications, Continuity & Timelines

Christopher Clark . March 19, 2020

Entrepreneurs and leaders: 

Below is the week two memo that was sent to our CEOs across the country on Sunday, March 15, focused on three critical work streams, horizon thinking and personal well-being. 

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Many of you responded to me from last week’s note. I am very impressed with your alacrity and action. I would want to work for you. Some of you implemented measures a few weeks ago, while others have put in place policies and procedures this week in accordance with more specific guidance from government authorities.

 

There are three basic leadership streams underway:

  1. Communication to employees, customers, BODs and stakeholders
  2. Business operations continuity
  3. Financial planning adjustments

 

Just to share your fellow CEOs' decisions, most of you have implemented optional or mandatory work from home policies with most companies in larger cities assuming two weeks or end of March for now. Airplane travel has largely been suspended, but there are exceptions. Hiring has been put on hold; note there are some companies who are seeing an increase in business during this time, which also has its own set of challenges.

 

You cannot control everything, so operating expenses are always the first call to action (while ascertaining the revenue and customer impacts). First, I hope you now have a leading indicator/metrics and P&L dashboard process for continuing to monitor impact and to make weekly adjustments. Obviously, unit economics are not cooperating with historic patterns. Second, I hope you are talking to your BOD members; if not, please have a call by the end of this week. As we all see time and again, in good and bad situations across business, sports, schools and social groups, communication and sharing is the X factor on outcomes. 

 

There are many companies, both in the Edison portfolio and other contacts, who are having a BOD meeting in the first or second week in April with a formal request to approve an adjusted plan with specific actions for the next two quarters or the balance of 2020. If you need help with any of this please feel free to contact me at cclark@edisonpartners.com

 

A couple of qualitative comments in the spirit of camaraderie:

I hope you have a daily routine that includes shutting out everyone for a fixed period of time (at least 30 minutes and up to an hour) where you just think, reflect, meditate or doodle. While you cannot control everything, there is a list of levers that you can control. Putting that list of “levers” or items/issues in one column and then adding a “when” column and a column for “short vs. long or aligned" column is helpful to me.  It would cover all manner of big or small things. Under the timing column, I would split it into short-term and long-term.

 

Like this:

Issue - Driver - Opportunity

 

When my item is consistent in both the short-term and long-term, I go as fast as I can to make that decision. When a short-term decision is not consistent with my long-term objective, I pause. I think more to ensure that it is really the right thing to do. These are extraordinary times now. The timeline of short-term (say 3 – 6 months) and long-term (post 12 months) has become less clear. I think this is one of the most difficult dynamics at the moment: what is the length of short-term? In uncertain times short-term seems to stretch longer, perhaps one year? Your weekly dashboards are critical in light of this sliding scale of a short-term horizon.

 

Finally, think about what attitudes are best for this situation and talk to those people with that attitude about your plan. It doesn’t matter what level they are. I suggest you have a highly interactive relationship with your customer service manager – the person who runs the team, not the person who reports to you that oversees it. It is very helpful for me to get a direct understanding of usage, issues and the informal chatter.

 

Again, I have not said anything you don’t already know or have not yet done. We are here and ready to listen and support.

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