Let's call 2021 the year of big decisions for CEOs.
Here are just a few of the questions they face: Do you require masks and vaccinations, encourage them, or make them optional? How do you handle people working virtually vs. showing up in person?
Policies on work travel are also in flux, as well as whether to host visits from suppliers and customers.
These were easy decisions a year ago. Companies simply followed the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to state or local regulations.
But now CEOs are facing tough choices on questions where literally everyone has an opinion. And often the opinions are strongly held. Considering what's at stake, that's not a surprise.
Last year everyone followed the rules and adapted. This year is different. So how do you make difficult decisions?
Part of my pandemic routine has included listening to podcasts from Harvard Business Review and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. They tackle important issues like how to support stressed-out employees and manage people virtually.
The more I listen, the more I'm convinced that we're seeing real changes in the way we work and that things aren't ever going back to "normal."
Of course the situation at manufacturers may be a lot different than I see at a business newspaper publishing company. So how will your companies deal with the changes?
CEO readers will, no doubt, listen to the experts and consult with workers, colleagues and their senior leadership teams. But the big decisions often come down to one person. As the famous sign on Harry Truman's desk in the Oval Office said, "The buck stops here."
With that in mind, I'd like to invite CEOs to participate in our seventh annual CEO issue, which will be published Sept. 6. We want to profile current and retired industry CEOs, similar to our recent Women Breaking the Mold and Rising Stars special issues. Once again, we are looking for people with president or CEO titles at plastics companies. That includes both processor and supplier companies, both inside and outside of North America. As always, diversity is strongly encouraged.
This year, we are adding some more questions about how CEOs are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. That's in addition to asking CEOs to share their stories about how they ended up in plastics, to talk about mentors who have helped along the way and to share their advice with workers considering a career in the industry.
Go to www.plasticsnews.com/CEO to fill out the survey. Submissions must be received by Aug. 16.
Don Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of the Plastics Blog. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp.