No playbook? Here’s a halftime speech

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No playbook? Here’s a halftime speech

By Ken Clark - 08/13/2020

CEOs everywhere agree that there’s no such thing as a “pandemic playbook.” But here’s the next best thing: “the pandemic motivational halftime locker-room speech.”

The following ideas might sound like they were stolen from Coach Norm Dale from “Hoosiers” or the “Miracle on Ice” coach Herb Brooks, but they actually came from industry leaders who shared their thoughts with HBSDealer during a series of webcasts.

You’re going to make mistakes. Keep playing.

“This is the time to be on your toes, on the balls of your feet like you’re playing a sport,” said Levi Smith, president of Franklin Building Supply. “You want to be able to move quickly, you need to pay attention to what’s going on. We’re writing the rule book for a game we’ve never played, so we’ll get a lot of stuff wrong. We’ve told our people all we know for sure is we’re going to get a lot of stuff wrong in hindsight, but we’re not going to let that paralyze us.”

“This is the time to be on your toes, on the balls of your feet like you’re playing a sport...”
Levi Smith, Franklin Building Supply

You’ll be judged out there by what you do.

“The other day,” recalled Jeremy Stine, director of marketing for Stine Home & Yard, “our CEO [Dennis Stine] walked into a room and said, ‘You know what Ghandi said about action? Action expresses priorities.’ I bring that up because we move quickly the moment we see some things changing on the ground. Actions express priorities, and that one quote has stayed with me throughout this entire process.”

We’re gonna hit ‘em inside, then we’re gonna hit ‘em outside.

“We’re emphasizing curbside pickup,” Jeremy Stine said. “Making sure the ecommerce site is working and that we continue to do a great job with curbside pickup. We’re promoting it and getting better at it every day. Curbside pickup is going to be here for a long time, and it’s a way for us to beat back the Amazons and the big boxes of the world. It’s a great way for leveling the playing field and do a better job of when it comes to serving our communities.

Great moments are born as great opportunity.

“I would expect that mostly through the summer we will see very high volume and very high demand for the things we sell,” said Michael Costello, CEO of 36-location Costello’s Ace Hardware. “I think it creates an incredible opportunity for hardware stores to see customers that they haven’t in a while and see customers that normally don’t shop them. And then serve customers in different ways through online orders or through phone orders. There are a lot of opportunities come out of this. Stronger than we went in.”

We’re gonna be winners.

“You’re all stronger retailers than you were a month ago, and you’re all stronger leaders than you were a month ago,” said Costello. “And those types of the actions and the decisions that have been made and the perseverance that you’re showing is going to make you a stronger retailer in the future, and it’s going to make a lot of challenges that come in the future seem really manageable.”

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The above motivational samples were extracted from a series of webcasts hosted by HBSDealer. You can find them all here. And tell us what you think here.

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