At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, what does business planning look like? How do you budget when you don’t know whether the recovery curve will look like a U or a V or a W? How do you find out what’s really going on with your customers and in your market, rather than relying solely on received wisdom?
As a leader – as an American – these recent weeks have been a cause for self-reflection. Like, I’m sure, all of you, I’ve been examining my own beliefs and behavior and that of my company. My board and I are proud of our company, and believe we set a good example of fair employment practices and good corporate citizenship both in and outside our walls.
As the CEO of a workers’ comp insurance company, I’m all about risk management. But making the decision not to reopen our building for the rest of the year was one of the hardest I’ve ever confronted. And determining how to handle our field operations, especially our safety consultants, was harder still.
Welcome to the new reality of remote work. My VP of HR recently participated in a virtual conference with a few hundred counterparts from insurance companies around the world, and the consensus was that none of them will return to the kind of physical work arrangements they had pre-COVID.
In times of crisis, you have to both meet people where they are and at the same time point them towards the future. Only by understanding the first can you accomplish the second.