#WayForward with Andy Keel, CEO dade design, Altstätten SG, Switzerland
In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what's on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Andy Keel, CEO dade design, sees things.
Before the lockdown, we stocked up our warehouse and therefore will be able to produce for a long time. My leading indicators were the strong signals from Italy. The timely reaction helps, but this crisis still hits us hard and I’m glad that the Swiss government made loans available so quickly. Securing liquidity is now by far the most important task of any CEO.
With all the hype, some people on my team feared they might die if they leave their homes. But we keep working and I went to a construction site myself and worked with the team. Those in fear need to see that the CEO is willing to do the work that they do. I call this extreme presence and we also practice it with our clients: the sales team has the job to call every A and B client.
In the evenings, I’m done. But such times make or break a business and it’s crucial for all of us to know that there are always opportunities. If one compensates for only 0,001% of lost revenues, we still need to make good use of it because it keeps the spirits high.
Andy on the positives of the crisis: “I see almost no winners in this crisis. The positive element seems to be that it is a fitness program for the economy. In Zurich, one bank wanted to build a cable car on the lake for sponsoring purposes. Such projects that seem to have to do with too much money floating around are now grounded. I feel that this a good thing. It’s also important for the generations Z and Y to get some basic understanding of the fact that things do not only move up."
Andy on the value of opportunities: “I said that we need to make use even of opportunities that don’t make us money. Did you know that at UBS 300 voluntary workers are making it possible that their clients get the government loans so fast? Doing something good and important as a team has a tremendous emotional benefit. We should also search for such opportunities in order to keep our staff motivated and positive.”
Andy on profitability: “Short-term, liquidity is king. But we need to start creating ideas about how we can get back to profitability. As stated before, we need to seize any opportunity – however small. Strong efforts in a time of crisis stand a good chance of being enlarged with the magnifying glass in the future.”
Andy on the economic outlook: “We haven’t seen nothing yet. Reduced salaries, job cuts and bankruptcies are still pushed into the future. But this all will happen within days and weeks and there will be lots of pain and fear. Brace for the impact of the sentiment that will be triggered by all of that.”
#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series' Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.