Pandemic Provides New Playbook for Leadership

Being empathetic, agile and flexible will be the keys to survival.

8/6/2020 1:12:00 AM

Being empathetic, agile and flexible will be the keys to survival.

Being empathetic, agile and flexible will be the keys to survival.

In the opening session of the WWD’s sister publication FN’s virtual summit, titled: “A Roadmap to the Way Ahead,” chief executive officers from Wolverine World Wide, Allbirds and Caleres addressed how they’ve had to adjust their leadership tactics as a result of the current situation.

Which Song From Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' Should Be Her Next Single? Vote! A Nebraska bar owner who was indicted in the fatal shooting of a Black protester has died by suicide More than half of states are reporting more new coronavirus cases as the US nears 200,000 deaths

Diane Sullivan of Caleres said the thing she misses most is the energy of her team when they’re working together as a group in the office. “I’m a people-centric leader,” she said. So for 60 consecutive nights at the start of the lockdown, she wrote a note to the staff, letting them know what was going on with the company and just checking in.

Joey Zwillinger of Allbirds said that the pandemic is stressing everyone and he is trying to be an “empathetic leader” by recognizing the “emotional baggage” his staff, suppliers and customers are enduring.Blake Krueger of Wolverine said that he has managed through a number of crises during his career, but has had to “shift into another gear” with the coronavirus. In addition to expending a lot more effort communicating with staff, he said the pandemic has forced him to “quickly develop a new playbook” to position his company to weather 2020 and beyond. This plan was divided into the first 90 days, the rest of 2020 and then 2021 and beyond.

View Gallery Related Gallery Spring 2021 Men’s TrendsBlake Krueger  Jim Decker/WWD“We’re working harder to be 80 percent as effective,” he said.Zwillinger said that since there was so much uncertainty and so few hard facts at the beginning of the pandemic, it made it “incredibly challenging” to lead the brand. The situation has improved since then, he said, and Allbirds is being transparent with its staff and suppliers and working together to pave the road ahead.

“The toughest decisions are behind us,” he believes. “Let’s not early high-five, but the veil of uncertainty has lifted a little bit.” He said that looking at what happened in Asia and Europe can provide a “bellwether for what’s ahead and we now feel more confident making decisions.”

Krueger added: “This is going to be a long haul.”Sullivan said that even when the virus threat is behind us, it will have changed some things permanently, including the rise of e-commerce, the importance of innovation and the lasting impact of working from home.

Zwillinger said that while working remotely may become the norm for some companies, there’s no replacing the office setting.“There’s so much fulfillment working with colleagues to solve problems,” he said, and impromptu in-person meetings can never be replaced by scheduled Zoom calls.

Biden implores Senate GOP to wait on Ginsburg vacancy until after election: ‘Don’t go there’ Which Artist Should Write & Direct Their Own Biopic Next? Vote! Xinjiang government confirms huge birth rate drop but denies forced sterilization of women

So the office of the future may no longer be defined as 9-to-5 without flexibility, but it will exist. “Not all work can be done remotely. There’s an intangibility that only communication can create.”Diane Sullivan  Mark Mann/ Footwear NewsKrueger agreed. “Some work environments will be changed forever, but people are social animals and culture is set by people working together.”

Sullivan said that while there is a lot that can done virtually, building and growing a business requires in-person interaction and ongoing dialogue. “This is not a sustainable long-term way of operating.”Looking to the future, the executives believe there will be further challenges to overcome. Krueger said that while he expects the second half of the year to be better than the first, planning is tough and speed and flexibility will be the keys to future success.

Sullivan believes it will come down to “living in the moment,” and being ready to react and adapt. Read more: WWD »

The Note: Streamlined Trump campaign again meets scattershot candidateThe Trump campaign has a new streamlined plan of attack against Joe Biden, but President Trump is still offering bundles of conflicting messaging and misinformation. They all say the same bullshit! Fool, we have already abandoned your bought party! Give us ALL what you give union thugs, or we never leave the steets and we never stop fighting you! 😂 Trump is a EPIC FAILURE!

New York Comedy Festival Canceled For 2020 Due To Coronavirus PandemicThe annual New York Comedy Festival is taking a year off: The 2020 edition of the 16-year-old event has been canceled over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The next comedy fest is now set f… Maybe if Facebook didn’t kill the comedy short this could still be done online.

COVID-19 silver lining: Pandemic measures could thwart new outbreak of AFMMask wearing, school closures and others measures to fight COVID-19 may hamper the spread of acute flaccid myelitis, a mysterious paralyzing illness. And POINTSOFLIGHT look the stars falling down from the sky That’s right, gouge out this uncle’s eye, sweetheart. 😌 Wait a minute. 😳 What’s the picture of Trump doing here?

Rafa Nadal will not defend US Open title in New YorkCiting the 'complicated' nature of the world under the pandemic, Rafael Nadal has opted not to defend his US Open title later this month in Flushing Meadows, New York. Is USOpen going to be scheduled if not already? Hope it's not.

Virgin Atlantic airline files for US bankruptcy protectionNEW YORK (AP) — Virgin Atlantic, the airline founded by British businessman Richard Branson, filed Tuesday for protection in U.S. bankruptcy court as it tries to survive the virus pandemic that is... isn’t he being shot into space? Oh man poor Richard he’s gonna lose everyth- hahaha never mind he’ll somehow get richer because of it.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot ResignsNew York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, who helped oversee the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, resigned from her post. I don't give two rats asses that she quit. NYGovCuomo = Cuomocide NYCMayor handling of the crisis fulfilled the wildest goals of the ObamacareDeathPanel