May 1, 2020

Founders of KIND and S’well Adapt to a COVID-19 World While Helping First Responders

By Woody Woodward, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Executive Coaching & Organizational Consulting, Division of Programs in Business

You have heard it ad nauseam and it is worth stating again: We are all in this together. This includes the innovative entrepreneurs who continue to shape the way we do business. Just like the rest of us they are living through this accidental social experiment and doing what they can to get us to the other side. I had the opportunity to connect with two such entrepreneurs to hear how they are adjusting to remote life and chipping in to support our first responders.     

Adjusting to Remote Work

By now most companies with the capability to go remote have done so. And as many of us can attest, it has been an adjustment. However, that adjustment hasn’t necessarily been all bad. In some cases, leaders and teams have discovered that working in physical isolation has actually increased team socialization.        

Sarah Kauss, Founder of S’well (the maker of the famed S’well bottle), explained: “In times like these, my instinct is to bring my team closer together — physically — so that we can feel the support of the entire organization more fully and respond faster.” Her instinct is something that has been felt by many of us, particularly when it comes to our families. Unfortunately, one of the unique features of this crisis is that we can’t come together physically like we normally would. Yet, as any great entrepreneur she found a way to turn this challenge into an opportunity.

Kauss and her team now use video for nearly every call: “Even those super early morning calls before I have a full face of make-up,” she explains. “Being real with each other is more important than ever,” she adds. As a result, she is enjoying deeper connections with her team members and she is even seeing positive impacts on her relationships with those outside of the S’well family. Kauss shared that she has been able to develop faster and deeper connections with business partners because: “You are seeing inside someone’s home, their taste in art, books, their kids/pets…” Whether intended or not, an interesting aspect of video is that the experience can give you a unique glimpse into the personal side of an individual beyond just the work aspect of their lives.

Daniel Lubetzky, Founder of KIND has also gone to video. Even though the challenges of working in isolation have been tough, he has been surprised at how fulfilling it is to see the faces of his team on video. “Even if I wish I could see my team in person, at least seeing their faces fills me up with some level of human connection,” he explained. 

He also noted how blown away he has been by the level of productivity he has seen from his team all while: “Juggling the new normal that we’ve all found ourselves in.” Lubetzky notes the reality is that: “We have team members who are home-schooling their kids who have had to construct new work schedules on the fly; but they are channeling their passion and entrepreneurial vigor by getting creative about how to get things done,” which is certainly not easy as anyone with children can attest. 

Read the full article here


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