My thoughts are with you as you navigate yourself, your family, and your business through these uncertain seas.

I’m drafting this on Monday, 3/16, in a rapidly changing situation. I say that because I want to use this week’s issue to deliver on Owlthena’s promise to help business leaders “unstick” when they have a challenge that is blocking their view to clear next steps.

If this isn’t–from a collective standpoint–that time, I don’t know what is. But I do know this: the context of what I’m sharing may shift by the time you see this on Wednesday, but I’m sharing “in the moment” for any insights and perspectives that may serve you, as a business leader, well:

This week’s What’s Hot Wednesday:

First up are communications by CEOs whose outreach to their stakeholders impressed me over the last few days. Each talks to their communities from the heart, shares their perspective on the unfolding crisis, and offers something to ease the burden of the situation, whether through a togetherness message, an actual extension of product/service, or both. I received all of these as emails. Some were available as webpages, so I’ve linked to them, others weren’t so I summarized for you:

From Tim Andrews, CEO, Advertising Specialties Incorporated.

From Chris Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton.

From Seamless, the food delivery company, Matt Maloney, Founder and CEO began with a personalized and compassionate message and then continued:

 With dine-in down as much as 75%, local restaurants need our support more than ever. As their partner, it is Seamless’ responsibility to step up during this difficult time. So, we are deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants.

 Delaying our revenue will increase the restaurant’s cash flow, allowing them to pay their employees and weather this difficult situation. We are also matching all promotions run by independent restaurants with our Smart Promotions feature, to help make their investments in growth twice as effective.

 To provide additional financial relief for our drivers and restaurants, we created the Seamless Community Relief Fund. With this fund, all of your Donate the Change contributions will go to charitable organizations that support drivers and restaurants impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

 Local independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our communities and we must do everything we can to get them through this time of uncertainty. With empty dining rooms, restaurants are depending on pickup and delivery orders more than ever.

 Using Contact-free delivery at checkout, you can safely continue to support your favorite local restaurants. For the safety of you and our drivers, drivers will call/text when they arrive and drop off your order on the doorstep, in the lobby or other area designated by you. This option is now available on the website and latest version of the app.

 Another way to support your favorite local restaurants is to order pickup. For some customers, pickup has proven to be a great alternative to dining in—with less person-to-person contact.

I really like this one because it was well thought out, and not just a one-shot, token gesture. It really addresses the various stakeholders’ needs and considerations. Well done, Seamless.

Likewise, I received an email from the CEO and founder of the project management system we use at Owlthena’s parent company, Digital Brand Expressions (DBE). Andrew Filev’s message felt from the heart and was empathetic to people running businesses. After his compassionate Intro, these notes:

  • For all current Wrike customers, your accounts now have access to unlimited additional collaborators until your renewal. This should offer immediate relief if you need to rapidly add team members to your virtual workspace.
  • We are excited to launch a new weekly webinar series called “Coffee with Wrike.” In these virtual coffee breaks, we will discuss actionable best practices to help teams embrace and overcome the challenges of remote work. Register here.
  • For advice from our experts on remote work and management, a great place to start is the Wrike Blog. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll continue to share our recommendations for effective remote collaboration across our social channels.
  • We also have our customer success and customer support teams available to offer guidance for enabling virtual collaboration across your organization via your Wrike workspace. Find out how you can contact a Wrike in your region here.
  • If you’re part of a non-profit organization that is coordinating relief efforts related to COVID-19, please get in touch with our sales or support teams. We’d love to understand how we can assist you in your global collaboration efforts. Thank you for your selfless work!

This story from Axios by Dan Primack also showcases CEOs getting it right.

Novel Ideas to Help:

If you’ve come up with ideas to help or want to share great ideas from others, please do. Here are some suggestions I’ve seen:

  • For supporting your favorite local restaurant who cannot do delivery and has to temporarily close: buy a gift certificate from their website and use it when they reopen. For example, I purchased a gift certificate from Bowman’s Tavern in New Hope, PA. We love it there and were sad to see they had to temporarily close because their rural location doesn’t support them doing take out for their guests. Buying a gift certificate now helps their cash flow and gives us a nice treat when they reopen.
  • Use your “found time” to help yourself and others. Not commuting to the office or plant? Does that give you an hour or two more each day?
    • Could you offer to help with someone’s children remotely? Think screen share to help them with school work.
    • Take an online course?
    • Improve your networking skills?
    • Express yourself creatively?
    • Make some meals to freeze for when you are back to being pressed for time? Or to bring to a neighbor whose juggling childcare and work responsibilities like crazy this week?

This crisis won’t last forever, so how do you re-channel your time and energy to something that benefits you and/or others?

Me? I’m networking via phone and Zoom to see who I can help, and my screenplay is getting some much-needed attention.

My team at DBE and I are helping our clients re-channel their marketing resources to the places it will do them, and their stakeholders, the most good.

Remember, things are less scary when you don’t feed the fear and instead feed your sense of resilience and “doing something.”


Do Good Spotlight: Meals on Wheels

Our regular readers know this spotlight typically goes to a not for profit that we choose more or less at random, unless we’re featuring an organization someone has suggested for us to feature. This week, we’re purposefully shining the light on Meals on Wheels. This crisis is hitting our nation’s seniors the hardest, with social distancing bringing its own unique challenges. So we’ve donated to Meals on Wheels and are asking you to take a moment of gratitude and provide support, financial or otherwise, to those who are having more challenges than you are at the moment.


In Closing…

I wish you all the best. The world is counting on you as a business leader to make good decisions. Be well, be positive, be strong. And let me know if you need anything–I’m here to help.