May 18, 2022
Volatile Times. It Is Not An Easy Ride
When running a company for over 30 years, we have evolved and adjusted to overcome challenges to remain available to our employees and customers.
During these volatile times of Covid-19, a war in Ukraine, high inflation and a worldwide hike in interest rates, we are sharing some areas of interest to consider while building the company’s culture, customer approach, recruiting, and cybersecurity:
A “Marshall Plan for Moms and Dads”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had some of the characteristics and stresses of war, especially on mothers who had to figure out how to cope with careers and kids being schooled virtually.
After World War II, the USA approved The Plan Marshall to rebuild a devastated Europe (named after Secretary of State and former US Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall). This aid supported the reconstruction of Europe.
Inc Magazine offers a brief article from the creator of “Marshall Plan for Moms,” Reshma Saujani, that “Knows What Working Parents Really Want for Mother’s Day: Employers That Take Burnout Seriously.”
Does your company have a “Marshall Plan for Moms and Dads”?
Who has not watched “Undercover Boss“? The TV show in which the CEO of a company is “infiltrated” as a front-line employee to get an accurate picture of what’s right and wrong. However, this isn’t a practical strategy for small to midsize companies (SMB), where employees may see and interact with the CEO daily. However, SMB CEOs can effectively go “undercover” when recruiting.
In a short Fast Company article, Chris Bakke, C.E.O. of talent search firm Laskie, offers several suggestions for evaluating your hiring process by a tactic not unlike “Uncover Boss.” One of the strategies in winning the “War for Talent” is winning the “Battle for First Impressions.” For many companies, this often means their hiring process. Mr. Bakke wins it because, he says, “As CEO, I apply to jobs at my own company every year.”
Is your hiring process an open door or a locked one?
Know your customers. Grocery Stores and 747s
Successful entrepreneurs know their customers. In the late 1960s, Joe Coulombe fails while running a convenience store. But he didn’t stop there. He had a vision for a new kind of grocery store for a particular type of customer. He described “as a person who got a Fulbright scholarship, went to Europe for a couple of years and developed a taste for something other than Velveeta.”
This insight allowed Joe to lay the foundations for a 530-store chain called Trader Joe’s.
Coulombe visioned how the introduction of the new Boeing 747 in 1969 would open international travel to many more Americans who would return home with an enhanced appreciation regarding food. He did not hesitate to evolve the company to answer to new opportunities. For instance, a loophole in California liquor laws, using private label branding and spotting the demand for natural and organic foods to gain a march on rivals in a very competitive industry where net profit margins over 2% are considered remarkable.
Learn more about Joe Coulombe in this short blog post “Wait, Trader Joe was a real guy?”
Five Easy Breaches
Many companies have doubled down on their IT Security capabilities to protect from hackers trying to access company data, assets and other valuable aspects of any business. These movements may not be enough for those senior employees who are often on the move and accessing vital information on devices and through networks outside the company.
A brief posting from Chief Executive Magazine warns that “Executives are usually well-protected when inside the corporate network, but in many cases, that security vanishes as soon as they step outside. Their home networks, personal devices and personal accounts often have little to no meaningful protection.” Learn about “Five Ways Hackers Target the Lives of CEOs.”
While you’re contemplating data security, Vistage Speaker and IT Security guru, Mike Foster, has a few suggestions about the benefits and risks of password managers.
Whip Inflation Now” 2.0 in 2022
Many Boomer executives have “inflation flashbacks to the 70s and 80s when inflation dominated our economic consciousness. President Gerald Ford promoted a “Whip Inflation Now” campaign that featured big buttons with WIN to show your commitment to reducing the price level (it didn’t work). Inflation is a multifaceted disorder, and addressing it may require more than one prescription. Dr. Brian Wesbury reviews them in a worthwhile short blog, “Whipping Inflation.”
For clarity on economic reality supported by data, check out these two short commentaries from ITR Economics: Economist Connor Lokar expects a slowdown but not a reversal and offers advice on Pivoting for Slowdown. And his ITR Colleague Lauren Saidel-Baker offers some exciting metrics that show that the business community is in pretty good financial shape. Check out her short blog post, Tracking Business and Consumer Sentiment.