Leadership During The Pandemic.


    Smart business leaders learn a lot about their business while under duress.  And there’s probably been no bigger moment of duress around the world in my lifetime, than the Corona Virus.  9/11, some might argue, was bigger. And the financial banking collapse is certainly in the running. But the pandemic is touching almost everyone on the planet.

    Leaders are grappling with supply chains. Employee reductions and furloughs. Bank credit, taxes and consumer demand drop-offs.  So many pucks are being fired at leaders at the same time, it’s hard for them to think about positive things. But good business leaders are looking out for any business positive issues that rise to the surface. Good ideas about work-arounds. New offerings to help customers. More efficient ways of doing business. Delivering business. And improvements to the business experience.

    Learning while under duress is powerful learning.  Politics aside, the government is trying to do its best to help small and large businesses.  Much as we came out of the financial crisis stronger and with better governing principles, we will also emerge from the pandemic better prepared.

    New business leaders and government leaders will emerge. They can’t help but.



    Ask or Tell?


    According to The New York Times Sunday President Biden has decided to ask Homeland Security and NASA employees to take paid leave from their organizations and go down to the southern border to help minister to the thousands of children crossing the border seeking asylum. Finally, a smart and workable solution to handling the huge influx. Problem is, he is asking rather than telling. It may be the kindler gentler approach to ask, yet in times of crisis we need fast and decisive moves.

    In the 1990s while working as an ad agency guy on the AT&T account, AT&T faced a government regulation requiring them to allocate a proportion of corporate 800 numbers to MCI and Sprint. Until that time, AT&T owned all 800s and was viewed as a monopoly. If you chose to stay with A&T, though, you could.

    The president of the Business Communications Services group, Joe Nacchio, emptied two huge corporate buildings in New Jersey of his white-collar work force and sent them on the road to meet with 800 service customers large and small in an effort to get them to stay. Talk about a redeployed workforce! He didn’t ask. He told. It was an unmitigated success. If memory serves, they retained about 90% of their 800 business and margins probably increased as MCI and Sprint were discounters. As an added bonus, they picked up quite a bit of market intelligence for their efforts.

    Moral of the story, think big. Be big. Lead decisively.