Insight

Circling the Pack but Keeping it Open

by Jason Ocker

It’s been about a week and a half since our CEO, Michael Colombo, sent the company-wide email instructing Maark employees to continue all operations from home. It was the same email many employees in many companies around the world received. Here at Maark, it wasn’t a huge change in itself.  As I wrote last week, we’re already heavily invested in working from home. The emails I got from my kids’ school and the news notification on my phone were far more disruptive than Mike’s email.

Friday was our monthly all-hands Zoom meeting, where our employees from all over the world log into Zoom to get a communal update on the company for that month. Again, we do this every month, putting ourselves in socially distanced rows of boxes on the screen like an uber-Brady Bunch. But the topic and tone this time, obviously, were a little different, and I wanted to share some of what Mike shared with our company in case there’s value in it for our colleagues and clients and friends. Also to offer some transparency and solidarity.

First on the agenda was to escalate the all-hands meeting to a weekly one. Not for operational reasons. The team knows how to work at a high level of performance under challenging circumstances. The meeting frequency was increased because right now we are all in a tumultuous tide of information that changes daily and is hard to parse. It’s good for us to be together regularly to get full clarity on the company direct from the mouths of leadership. It’s also good to have that Brady Bunch reminder that nobody in the company needs to feel alone, and if they do, they’ve got boxes of people to reach out to with the tap of an interface.

Next, was an extremely important, unvarnished acknowledgment of the uncertainty of the situation. These are unprecedented times, professionally and personally. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, in the short-term or in the long-term. The best anybody can do is watch the data and adapt and act accordingly in the most intelligent way, meanwhile continuing what we have control over and know how to do: Help each other, help our clients.

But it was also important to acknowledge the optimism in the situation. There is good news. Globally, it seems as if many countries have controlled their crises, which means other countries can too. In addition, all around us are stories of individual selflessness and corporate responsibility that can be focused on. Closer to home, there's good news here at Maark. With only some exception, business keeps moving, projects keep moving, business development keeps moving. The world might seem stopped, but it’s not. At least, not totally and not everywhere.

In addition, situations like these are what Maark is built for. Besides being operationally in line with current circumstances, our entire business model, our SWAT team model, is adept at everything companies need right now, reducing cost, increasing efficiency, being flexible enough to adapt mid-run and find value quickly. We’ve been preaching this doctrine long before any of us had ever heard the word coronavirus or knew what an N95 mask was.

Side-note, but Maark was actually born out of strange, uncertain times, coming online as a digitally focused agency not long after the dotcom crash early in the millennium. So it’s in our DNA.

Finally, the emphasis was put on empathy for our clients. Many of them are in the middle of a much bigger upheaval operationally, economically, and personally. They are going through a lot of adjustments due to their size or their industry or their operational models or their locations. And that’s something we can’t forget as we push forward and keep moving.

But that’s exactly why we exist in the first place, to help our clients through change. If there’s anything we at Maark can help with (business-related or not), we’re here. Just a tap of an interface away.



Jason writes. Tells stories. Develops strategies. He oversees a wide range of creative and technical projects. He’s also an award-winning author of half a dozen books and has been featured on or in CNN, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The New York Times, and TIME.

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