In a continuation of conversations with leaders during the Covid-19 pandemic, I had a great opportunity to share time with JJ Gottsch, COO of Ryan Sanders Sports and Entertainment. This is a company that has seen an incredible impact due to the current crisis, but is still finding their way forward. Here is part of that conversation (that took place 2 weeks ago, before the newest developments in our country’s headlines):

“We have 3 divisions – the baseball team (Round Rock Express), strategic hospitality (food & beverage, concessions, catering, etc.) and the turf business. With two of our business lines being based on large “live events,” we’ve had the rug ripped out from under us, all of us. We have 100-125 full-time employees and another 2,000+ employees that are event or “day of game” staff.   Some of the people we employ for events have this role as their main source of income. As a live event business, when there are no events, there is no work.

There is absolute uncertainty right now – with no real clarity in sight. So many things are out of our control. So what do you do?  You “control what you can control,” and there has never been a more important time to follow that message.

I couldn’t be happier with our employees and couldn’t be prouder of our staff during this time.  We’ve had to get creative on both sides of the ledger, and our folks from top to bottom have done that. We’re going to have to pivot (our business) at some point, but I think everyone will be ready.

We have a call each week with the leaders of our divisions. They then communicate on down the chain. During the first few weeks of our calls there was a lot of “what ifs” and “hopefully” and general optimism. We talked about different scenarios and what they might look like, but we didn’t really activate on anything because the landscape was still changing so rapidly. Fast forward, and although there is still uncertainty, we are now starting to fully develop some of these plans and scenarios as opposed to just talking about them. Conversations turning into actual planning.

In times of challenge/crisis, things get highlighted – whether bad or good. Crisis shines a light on peoples strengths or their weaknesses.

I’m watching less and less news. Is there anything left of the news that isn’t politically based? Anything new that could affect us positively?

This is something that nobody has ever gone through, ever. Everyone is going through and we will all come out of it.

You wake up, you are alive and you have a chance to do good things, that is a win! Most of humanity is on the same page. Competitors are putting down their swords. It is such a great period to come together and help motivate one another”

 

Allen Plunkett,

Phoenix Staff Founder