By Matt Strano, CEO Charlotte Products Ltd.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for us here at Charlotte Products, as it has been for everybody else. The world around us is changing so quickly, and we’ve been adjusting as needed, learning on the go and reacting in real time to increasing challenges that seem to change every day.
Here at Charlotte, the first thing we needed to do from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was to make sure we were getting our disinfectants out into the marketplace as quickly as possible. Our disinfectants are safe and effective at killing the virus, and we needed to remove all barriers to getting this disinfectant in the hands of the people who need it as quickly as possible. That meant doubling our production capacity in two weeks. It was a whirlwind, and we didn’t have a playbook for how to navigate a global pandemic and meet that kind of demand. That happened because our people here at Charlotte stepped up to help and deliver. As I’ve finally had a moment to reflect on what has transpired, I wanted to share some of the lessons we’ve learned over the past few months that have allowed us to succeed in the face of such unprecedented challenges.
Believe in a shared mission.
When I look back on the past few months, what resonates with me is how our mission statement has guided us through the many challenges we have faced. Every person on our team believes deeply in our simple mission statement: To help people everywhere live healthier, safer lives. What better time to let that mission guide us than right now?
Learn from each other.
I may be the CEO, but I learn more from the rest of my team here at Charlotte than they learn from me. As my team teaches me about the parts of our production process that they are experts on, I see myself as a supporter who listens and offers ideas only after taking in the perspectives of others. Our team is teaching me every day so I can make the right decisions for our customers. It is the passion of our people who can educate, support and help fill in when needed that has been key to overcoming the challenges we have faced.
Communication is critical.
Success in this time of crisis is all about how well you can communicate the issue and the possibilities for solutions. It’s not only having the correct information, but it’s also about the clarity and speed with which you communicate. We have been making decisions every hour of every day to adapt to the challenges of the crisis. Without accurate, clear information delivered to decision makers quickly, we never would have been able to find the solutions. It’s not just about communicating with our team members, it is also about relaying accurate, clear information quickly with our customers and our supply chain, too. We’ve learned quickly that we need to be crystal clear with our vendors to keep the supply chain functioning, while also speaking with customers to help them manage anxiety in the face of the pandemic. The result has been a commitment to daily communication with everyone at every level of the supply chain.
Knowledge is power.
We’ve always been devoted to the idea of knowledge transfer here at Charlotte. For us, transferring our expertise and scientific knowledge to our customers has been a key element of keeping everyone safe and healthy during normal times. But as the pandemic began growing, we noticed that we had the responsibility to transfer our knowledge about how to contain the virus using disinfection. We noticed that our customers, and even our family and friends, were very anxious because of all of the information being thrown at them from the news, and all of the unknowns associated with this particular virus. We know from experience that knowledge can help assuage fear and anxiety. So we immediately set out to teach the public the proper ways to protect themselves from COVID-19 using our deep scientific expertise on viruses, disinfection and safety. The resulting webinar series has turned into an ongoing initiative to keep the public informed. We used questions submitted by our listeners to generate new content weekly, in an effort to decrease public anxiety through the transfer of knowledge. The Charlotte Products COVID-19 webinar occurs weekly on Fridays at 1 pm.
I am proud of our team here at Charlotte. Everyone is stepping up and working harder than ever to deliver on that mission to provide safer, healthier places for people everywhere. We are all in this together—in every country, every industry and every part of the supply chain. As we continue to cope with the unknowns coming from this pandemic, it will be important to reflect on what we’ve already accomplished, be humble about what we do not know, and share lessons and faith with each other.