Two weeks ago, we kicked off The Edison Summer Seven Series with seven of the tested and timeless pieces of advice shared by our portfolio CEOs during this black swan.
In this second issue, you will see another seven CEO insights from our Lighthouse Series interviews that are bright beacons amid stormy and sunny skies.
"You need to go back to the basics. Focus on what at the core made your company successful and ensure every single employee is focused on doing their job, hour by hour, day by day. Rally your team around the challenge. Be ruthlessly focused on delivering value every day. Your employees need to be customer-centric even more during challenging times."
"Right now, more than ever, it’s important for me to connect with people. I always prefer a call to an email, a Zoom to a call. The human connection is important and worth the extra effort. Apart from relying on colleagues, I do rely heavily on my BOD as sounding boards for Company related business discussions. You need a place where you know candor is a given and your ideas will be challenged. It's essential to have that trusted channel. Outside of work, it’s my family and a few close friends."
"I’ve also had to spend more time making the complex simple. It’s easy for teams to get paralyzed in battle; clear direction is more important than ever. Also, it’s important to quickly and honestly share where we’re winning and not. We’re shifting messaging, dialing in our ICP, firing up our competitive chops, and aligning even more tightly with top partners. We’re also spending more time on what I call ‘marketing from the inside out’— doing fewer things better and making sure we’re getting full juice for the squeeze on every new marketing deliverable or product release. This has meant doubling down on enablement and internal marketing."
"A couple years ago at an Edison event at West Point, we talked about the OODA loop - observe, orient, direct, act. The historical cadence of our OODA loop has been around twice a year, with check-ins the other quarters. Now it’s nearly every week. It means our exec team, for example, has gone from meeting Monday mornings for an hour, to three times a week for four hours total each week. There’s a lot more data to look at, so we have to be comfortable moving much more quickly and decisively, and with much more uncertain information."
"Candidly there have been days when I’ve felt like I’m running on fumes. It’s times like those when I know it’s time to get back to basics. Sleep is critical, so I’ve been working on getting more. I also make sure I’m eating well, practicing my daily meditation, and going for runs a few times a week (in a socially distant manner, of course). I stopped watching and reading the COVID-19 news all the time (though I still read industry/financial news). I selectively and intentionally check every few days to see what trusted sources/models are predicting, but have found the non-stop Coronavirus news cycle to be draining and distracting."
"Two years ago, I started reading about meditation and the benefits it can have on your everyday life. I attended a four-day seminar on Ziva meditation, Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique that features a powerful trifecta of mindfulness, meditation and manifesting that not only has the power to uplevel your health but help you thrive at work and home. Meditation is something I practice actively on a daily basis -- it is the first thing I do in the morning after I wake up, always before work and often twice daily. It has been tremendously impactful on my life, creating a greater sense of focus, energy and clarity. I can confidently say that meditation has impacted my personal and professional life in a positive way. It has enabled me to live in the moment and be more present in a way that has enhanced my ability to make decisions and lead organizations."
"Our go-to-market planning window is much shorter. The marketing and sales teams are as agile as ever, and are adapting campaigns and programs based on weekly performance data. Before COVID-19, our roadmap included a mix of customer issues, sales opportunities and product differentiators. After COVID-19 emerged, we decided to strictly focus on solving the challenges our customers face in this new world. Our roadmap now ranges from cleaning up user experience (UX) quirks to developing new features that help customers be as successful as possible in these extraordinary times."