Leadership in Trying Times

The viral blizzard of COVID-19 is sweeping across our country as I write. Fear struck the markets. Employees have concerns for their health and income. Most individuals I have interacted with appear calm, while they speak of someone very close to them who is in a near state of panic. We all know someone who needs us. Let’s lead well, and get through this –together.

At Little Engine Ventures I have been in contact with our managers more often than usual. We are on the look-out, and are formulating creative solutions to address complicated questions. Our aim is to guard our teams and help our communities. We are also not over-planning. Let’s address the next few days and adjust as we go.

Here is a brief overview of what we are doing. I hope this helps others. If there are better ideas let us know.

  1. Follow leadership. If schools close this effects childcare. Be thoughtful and help people make arrangements. If government demands a state of emergency, more situations will change. Show grace toward each other.
  2. Employees are encouraged to stay home if they suspect any sort of illness. Those who can work remotely are encouraged to do so at this time.
  3. Managers are devising “no-contact” operating plans for tasks that simply cannot be done remotely. Most of our businesses can run without large assembly lines or large gatherings of people. Some individuals can work remotely. That is the most obvious and easiest. Others companies are preparing to dispatch in series (glass technicians load trucks and leave, next one arrives, loads, leaves, etc. Similar for solid waste hauling or delivery drivers.) For small manufacturers, we are creating clean zones and safe distance protocol, even limiting the number of people on-site at any one time. Again, our hope is to keep everyone gainfully employed as best we are able. Some heightened restrictions and changes might occur. Be patient with us as we learn together.
  4. There are retail situations that might require closures. For those who are paid hourly (or even tips), we are working to share the burden with the team, and basing our compensation plans on past earnings. We won’t be perfect, but we want to be helpful. Again, the goal is to come out of this together.

Finally, I am a bit opportunistic. If you have funding needs or stock to sell, please call. I don’t want to take advantage of people, but certain situations might be more critical for you, and less so, for us. I am not saying what I am buying, but can say I have purchased private and public stock in the last two weeks. I expect more will follow.

(I worked from home today, with my coughing daughter… just in case.)

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