Our CEO, Samuel Bouchard, participated lately in a podcast episode from Powered by Battery discussing about using the pandemic to re-tool. Listen to the podcast and read more here.
How do you stay connected with partners and customers without traveling—and keep employees motivated when they feel like every interaction with a co-worker is a draining, formal meeting? How do you onboard new employees remotely? Most of all, how do you keep from feeling powerless when the world shuts down (at least temporarily) and many of your customers are suffering?
According to Samuel Bouchard, the CEO of cobot-application company Robotiq*, you get very intentional about internal communications, and you go back to business basics. In this episode of Powered by Battery, Bouchard talks about managing his company through an unprecedented pandemic—and using Covid-19 as an opportunity to re-connect with core constituencies, launch new initiatives and move his company forward. Have a listen.
- Don’t become paralyzed by an external market shock. In the early weeks of the pandemic, Robotiq—which makes applications for cobots, which are used to replace manual processes in manufacturing facilities—quickly created a new program called Cobots vs. Covid-19. The initiative aimed to fast-track certain customers so they could get their cobots up and running faster and speed up the production of critical products. The program aided a manufacturer who built testing machines for a big medical-device company, for example. The project had the added benefits of 1) boosting morale among employees, who felt they were contributing to the fight against Covid-19, and 2) helping Robotiq figure out how to more quickly complete remote design work and support—something the company had been trying to do anyway.
- When it comes to work-from-home, take it seriously—and get creative. Faced with the new reality of working from home, Bouchard instituted special training for managers and employees around WFH best practices. It emphasized improving communication, giving more effective feedback and tips for better managing projects remotely. The company also instituted “no meeting Fridays” to give employees a Zoom break.
- Pick up the phone. Unable to travel to see customers and partners, Bouchard became more intentional about calling key contacts and employees to stay in touch. Cementing these relationships is important in any economic or work environment.
- Leverage your CEO network for advice. Being a CEO can be a very lonely job—you often can’t confide in your top lieutenants, or other advisors, about certain sensitive issues. When the pandemic was at its height, Bouchard leaned on a network of other CEOs for advice, including some pulled together by his company’s main investor.
- Get back to business basics. Less time traveling and commuting should also offer an opportunity for big-picture reflection. Bouchard went back to podcasts and books featuring old-school business leaders such as John Chambers and Andy Grove to find inspiration.
Battery is a global, technology-focused investment firm pursuing the most promising companies and ideas. Founded in 1983, the firm makes venture-capital and private equity investments from offices in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, London and Israel. Follow the firm on Twitter @BatteryVentures and find a full list of Battery’s portfolio companies here.