Executives from a number of electrical distributors are taking time out of their busy days to record “Executive Sessions” on the “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast. One of the huge benefits of the podcast is the conversations are unedited, meaning the executives have the opportunity to speak for an extended period of time without having to worry about their thoughts being shortened or taken out of context.
The first two “Executive Sessions” feature Wes Smith, President of Mayer Electric Supply, and Jeff Baker, Chief Executive Officer at Rexel USA. Both executives discussed how they are communicating with all of their employees, some of their strategies for the future, and how they are re-imagining doing business in the future.
“We’re doing well. We’ve adjusted. The economy is what it is, and you worry about the things you can control, and you deal with the things you can’t,” Smith said on the podcast. “People are extraordinary, and I say that across the entire organization. How they have banded together to take care of each other in new and different ways. Our folks are incredibly resilient.”
Baker compares himself to the mayor of a small town, since he has more than 6,000 working at Rexel USA. “I take this all really personally. When I took this job, the door disappeared immediately from my office because its not an open door policy, it’s a no door policy.”
As a result, both Baker and Smith are doing all they can to continue communication with all of their employees. For Baker, it means heading into a recording studio every Sunday to record a message for all of the people who work at Rexel. “I wanted them to look me straight in the eye when I was talking to them because I knew this economic downturn was going to be significant,” Baker explained. “Every Sunday, I get together with the head of our HR and we talk about what is going on. We tell our employees here is what is going to happen to us, and here’s how we need to prepare. It’s been interesting, I get pictures from some of our employees who sit down with their whole families so they can listen to the weekly updates. It’s been really well received.” Baker joked that his recent video message over the Memorial Day holiday weekend might have been too well-received. Baker invited his 95-year-old father to join him, and Rexel employees send hundreds of e-mails in response. Baker answered all of them, even though it mean a number of late nights typing up responses.
Smith shared similar stories on the “DistributED with tED Magazine” podcast. “Out of crisis comes good. And one of the good things is leaders and our people are much closer as a result of it,” Smith said.
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