01 Jul Radio Silence
How are you? Are you good?
I apologize for being radio silent for the past several weeks.
I haven’t felt like talking.
I’ve been in Hawaii because my dear father has been in hospice.❤️
My mom’s cancer has also spread to her brain. 😔
On top of that, we have the devastating news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, ending the right to abortion, and the looming recession.
It’s been tough for all of us.
But we have to remember:
A head full of fears
has no space for dreams.
Action conquers fear.
Pick yourself up from the floor.
You can and you will.
How do you stay sane in this ever-changing world? Do share! I’d love to hear from you!
All my biggest hugs,
LA Times CEO Pannel
I was recently on a Los Angeles Times CEO Panel and shared a few thoughts on how to navigate business and life. This will be featured in an upcoming Los Angeles Times issue, you get to read it here first!
We’re coming out of an unprecedented year. Some companies are opening up, and many are posting jobs. Some are adjusting from working from home and now coming back into the office.
What are some strategies you are implementing for talent retention and morale-building during this changing time?
The key principle for retaining talent and building morale is to double down on existing relationships.
Long-term relationships are how we all got through Covid, and the same will hold true again as we move closer to a recession.
There’s been a significant morale dip in all my companies. All of our teams have been feeling it, especially in Q4 of last year and Q1 of this year.
Employees need a consistent infusion of inspiration motivation and a sense of care from leadership across the board.
I’ve personally invested in executive and leadership coaching for my employees in all my companies.
In particular, they’ve taken a 4-day online training with the Academy for Coaching Excellence.
This coaching program provides practical tools to create ontological safety, and an environment of trust and help employees move beyond the inevitable challenges they will experience at work. Ontology is a branch of metaphysics that focuses on the study of being.
Personally, for the past six years, I’ve invested in a rigorous practice of mindfulness and meditation.
I believe calmness is the cradle of power.
I got trained in Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 2016 and received advanced training last year. I attended a six-day silent retreat at Spirit Rock and plan to attend another one at the end of the year.
Can you share what digital systems your teams have implemented to improve processes and efficiency?
As an owner of two digital agencies, we’ve been using many SAAS platforms in the past decades and implemented many of these platforms for our clients.
Some of the software tools I use include Calendly which handles my appointments and allows my assistant to focus on other tasks that can help me drive revenue.
Other tools I use include but are not limited to:
I have three pieces of advice when it comes to digital transformation
# 1 Back to the Basics
Because of change fatigue coming out of the pandemic, my advice is to go back to the basics.
Many companies implement software but don’t know how to really use them properly.
Invest a training day each month to get the basics down, put together a list of the software that you want to get good at, and watch tutorial videos online.
#2 Little Data
Besides understanding your current suite of software take a look at the data you’re collecting from your most basic platforms: your email land your website
Many people install Google Analytics for their website to measure how many people come and visit but rarely understand the data.
Many companies use email newsletter software like MailChimp, or Constant Contact but don’t dive deep into their open rates.
Ask yourself: How can you incrementally improve your email content and look and feel so you can get more engagement from your content?
#3 Details count
You send thousands of emails, yet one of the things most people overlook is their email signature. I see a lot of people who use a basic signature but don’t go beyond. Use Wisestamp.
- Check your website speed,
- Check your site for broken links
- Focus on the data and the details.
Go back to the basics
How have you handled cost management and gross margin compression when it comes to supply chain issues and our current global financial situation?
We have been super focused and disciplined around only doing the activities that
- grow revenue
- reduce cost
- minimize risk
Then run scenarios:
good, bad, and the ugly for how to operate over the next 6-12 months.
Communicate proactively with your employees.
Get in front of this story.
Get your team empowered and involved in problem solving and innovation.
How can every employee own a KPI a Key Performance Indicator that impacts revenue, cost, or risk?
Every role needs to create value.
Focus on the three critical paths.
With the added strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you navigated the inflation and various impacts on sales, margins, debts, and cash flow?
Customers will be trading down for value so we all need to be creative with our products and service offerings.
The Golden Question:
How can you reduce time to value, creating lower-priced products while preserving margins?
There’s also an internal and an external journey that happens as we are facing recession.
Externally, we’re all getting signals across various industries from professional services, CPG consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, retail, and more.
Signals include buying cycles are slowing, there’s a supply chain backup, continued cost inflation, hiring freezes, aging AR, sales pipelines slow, etc.
It takes 90 days to fully realize we are in a recession
Internally, there’s shock, realignment, and a change of behavior, that needs to happen at an individual, company, and societal level.
In other words, part of our economy/society is still in denial as the wave of reality starts to set in.
There’s a really good chance we will be in an “official” recession by the end of the year where we will see large-scale layoffs, a credit crunch, and cascading effects throughout the economy
Start preparing now.
There are lots of things you can do in the next 30-60-90 days to prepare.
- Be proactive.
- Preserve cash.
- Preserve gross margin.
- Get lean.
- Get in front of the curve.
- Winter is coming.
Looking forward, there are talks of recession. We continue to see supply chain issues and market concerns. What are you most concerned about and, more positively, what are you most hopeful for?
I’m most concerned about mental health challenges.
I am most worried about the people who take care of other people
I was in Hawaii this past week and one of my friend’s friends a nurse (her name is Tina) hurled herself off of the Ala Moana Tower. She has access to drugs but rather than OD-ing she chose to jump. My friend saw her the day before with no indication that anything was wrong.
My plea for everyone in this room everyone in leadership is to not be embarrassed to ask for help.
What I’m most hopeful for is our ability to be willing
Our willingness is our ultimate currency.
When the economy goes south we feel is a “crisis of confidence”.
Despite the uncertainties ahead, are you willing to focus on the positive?
Are you willing to be kind? Are you willing to treat everyone with divinity and respect? Are you willing to be resilient?
Are you willing to focus on your strengths?
Remind your people of this.
Reinforce your Northstar and purpose and keep people connected to it.
Be willing to focus on your company’s strengths, assets, mission, and resilience. This will help you navigate and ensure you endure through this next cycle.