MAP Client Spotlight: Q&A with Jeff Whitten, CEO of ROKFORM
Coming from the motorcycle industry, Jeff Whitten founder of ROKFORM, a designer and manufacturer of protective cases and phone mounts, to equip the 3.5 billion global smart phone users with the highest-end technology used within the motorcycle industry. It is estimated that Americans now check their phones 96 times a day (once every 10 minutes), meaning smart phones have become a lifeline for many and are heavily embedded in day-to-day professional and personal lives.
ROKFORM has created new, innovative protective cases and mounts for motorcycles, bicycles and even golf carts, because as we all know…. smart phones are always coming with, regardless of where people go.
In a Q&A with Jeff, he shares insight into being a CEO during COVID-19 times and how he and his team have stayed the course.
Q: As CEO, what has been your biggest challenge during COVID-19?
A: When the entire company had to transition to working remotely, it created new challenges for our leadership and team. We were not fully staffed, and many team members had to take on responsibilities they hadn’t had before. As CEO I was packing and shipping orders since I was one of only 2 people in the office. My business partner Steve and I were all-hands-on-deck. Our office manager, Miki, would come in on the weekends to process payroll, process AP, AR and customer returns. It was a real team effort for everyone working at home and in the office, but we made it work. We have an amazing team at ROKFORM.
We also had some initial communication challenges. We were used to all being in an office together and company news/updates being filtered to everyone organically. Now people were at home and were somewhat siloed.
Q: What steps did you take to overcome the challenges presented?
A: As CEO, I learned that company communication needed to come from me in a consistent, effective manner. I started to strategically communicate every day with a newsletter-type email including shipping/receiving data, new product concepts and releases, press, etc. All team members could count on this daily messaging, which improved remote collaboration and teamwork.
Q: How did your MAP Senior Consultant Lee Froschheiser assist you during this time?
The first valuable lesson we got from Lee is that he urged us to immediately overcommunicate with our team, which was very much needed. He also sent valuable client resources like MAP’s “COVID-19 Response Strategies” checklist which was helpful to have a plan right in front of us that was clear and actionable. Then Lee got us involved in virtual CEO roundtables where we learned and shared best practices with other leaders about a wide array of topics from the PPE application process to fostering a positive work culture during uncertain times to technology tips for working remotely.
Q: What piece of advice do you have for others CEOs that you can share from what you’ve learned during this time?
A: Stay lean… even in the good times. Cash is king. Have plenty of “dry powder” and minimize your fixed overhead.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level in focus, accountability and alignment? The MAP Management System’s key benefits include:
• Developing a business plan that serves as a roadmap of where your company is going, and helps you course correct when necessary
• Improving productivity and profitability
• Identifying your organization's goals that align to key strategies
• Driving execution and accountability
• Improving leadership effectiveness through executive coaching
• Creating focus, alignment and accountability
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