One Thing We Know About Going Forward During Covid-19 Is…We Don’t Know

May 29, 2020 – Don Howren, President and COO

This week I decided to go into our office (and yes this is my office in the morning!).  It’s sterile, well ventilated, and frankly, I just needed to get out of my place. Taking advantage of a ridiculously reduced traffic flow in Southern California, I made record time into the office. Honestly, it was eerily quiet, almost like a ghost town. A few heads popped up (sufficiently distanced) startling me as I wandered in. My guess is they had the same need to just get out of their house, too.  

As I settled into my office, I took some time to think about Altec and ‘what’s next’ for our company and customers. I know for a fact that we won’t be coming back to work as we knew it. I know, a blinding glimpse of the obvious.  But the more I pondered our current market and economic uncertainty, it became crystal clear to me that things will change.   

Normally past performance is an indicator of the future results.  But during COVID-19 the future isn’t necessarily a continuation of the present.  One thing I do know is we can’t just ‘stand pat’ and expect our operational cadence to mimic the market before the pandemic.  Darwin said it best; “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  

So, is a fundamentally new approach required?  Maybe.  Or maybe just ‘spin the operational dials’ a little bit.  But we all must think about all aspects of our businesses as we evolve into the future, or the foundation built on traditional approaches may crumble beneath us.  Here are some areas we’re thinking about:

  • Work from home – is this temporary or a model for our future?
  • What enhancements or new product developments need to be prioritized to help customers remain fluid and adaptable?
  • How can we improve service delivery?
  • How does our marketing ‘pivot?’
  • How is our sales coverage model and execution changing?

We need to be bold, try new things, fail fast, and not let the fear of the unknown stifle us.  Will we make all the right decisions?  Maybe, maybe not.  But if history has taught us anything it’s that smart companies learn valuable lessons when change happens…and it will.  But companies that ‘bunker-down’ in survival mode risk innovative companies grabbing the hibernating companies’ market share. So be bold, and don’t be that guy just looking to survive.