How to manage your team through disaster

Helen Logas runs Travelcorp, a corporate travel company turning over about $50 million. In 2001, the company was hit with a double-disaster with the September 11 attacks and the collapse of Ansett.

“During SARS was the first time that I really felt people stopped travelling, and I honestly felt it would be the end of my business. But we didn’t retrench anybody and worked as a team.”

“A lot of people in travel were retrenched and went to other industries. When conditions improved there was a lack of good staff everywhere, and it made it worse for our industry.”

“We went and reviewed how to do things better, did a lot of internal cleaning and made sure we were ready for when it came back. When it did, we hadn’t retrenched anyone and conditions improved in a big way.”

“Just after the business had recovered, one of my managers told me was leaving. I told him to stop joking. He said he was serious and walked out with literally over a third of the business.

“I could have gone legal, or a lot of other things, but chose not to, which was a very hard decision. I was emotionally quite upset and took a toll on me and clouded my business sense.”

“We hired a business development manager. We perused an aggressive strategy to gain large clients such as Coca-Cola, and eventually recovered in a big way. “

“Had I known what I know now, I wouldn’t have put myself through the heartache and worry. Instead of being as cautious as I was, I could have put on more sales staff to grow quicker. But the fear factor makes you pull everything in tight and stop spending any money, because you’re not sure of what’s going to happen. “

“Don’t decrease your fees and keep your yield up. Profit will go down, but if you grow and manage the business then profit will come back even better. “

Read more about Helen Logas and Travelcorp.

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