In This Issue
The Road Warrior
Tick, Tick, Tick
Amid Crisis, Marriott CEO’s Leadership Shines Through
True leadership qualities emerge in crises like the one currently confronting businesses around the world. One leader who earned rave reviews for his response at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic is Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, who demonstrated why in 2019 Chief Executive Magazine named him the CEO of the year.
In a candid, emotional six-minute video to Marriott employees, shareholders, and customers, Sorenson displayed honesty, vulnerability, and empathy while communicating clearly and directly. He didn’t sugarcoat the pandemic’s devastating impact on the hotel chain: “COVID-19 is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. For a company that’s 92-years-old,” he said, “that’s saying something.” He warned that the effects on the company would be greater than those following the 9/11 attacks and 2008 Great Recession. Leaders don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but by playing it straight, Sorenson earned trust.
In it together
Sorenson announced shortened employee workweeks and staff reductions but shared in the sacrifice by revealing that he would forego his salary for the remainder of the year and that the Marriott executive team would take a 50% salary cut. He also demonstrated compassion. “There is simply nothing worse than telling highly valued associates—people who are the very heart of this company—that their roles are being impacted by events completely outside of their control,” Sorenson said as his voice broke.
Rallying the troops
The Marriott CEO, who recorded the video in the midst of his own chemotherapy treatments, ended on a hopeful note: “I know we, as a global community, will come through the other side. And that when we do, our guests will be eager to travel this beautiful world again. When that great day comes, we will be there to welcome them with the warmth and care we are known for the world over,” he said. “Together we can—and we will—overcome this, and we’ll thrive once again.”
the Road Warrior
What Does the Future Hold for Business Travel?
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a severe effect on business travel. Bank of America reported that airline bookings for business travel were down nearly 90% year-over-year for the week ending August 23, compared with a 50% decline for leisure travel bookings.
The way back
Until the availability of a vaccine or treatment, the “new normal” of business travel will include mandatory personal health screenings and use of personal protective equipment such as gloves or face masks. Major companies are revising travel policies to incorporate safety protocols for hotels, rental-car companies, and ride-share providers. Before hitting the road, business travelers need to consider not just the health risks of traveling during a pandemic but of the possibility that they might face quarantine upon their returns home.
A guide to help you better understand how AE firms are valued and – perhaps more importantly – what you can do to build value now.Read Newsletter