How David Cote went through recession

I keep on thinking what it would be like after the virus crisis ends. I (and you all) know the world won’t be the same. But, there are lots of uncertainties there.

I came across an interview of David Cote. He is a former Honeywell’s CEO. He took the company through the big recession during 2008-2009. I didn’t think to get much as I thought it would be a feel-good story from another ex-CEO. But, I was wrong. His view and his strategy are very, very interesting.

I am not going to get into the details of how he successfully took Honeywell through one of the major recessions of our generation. I want to only share one thing about his story. He had only one thought and one thought only – what would be the best plan when the recovery happen? His strategy then followed this only thought – how he looked after customers, employees, and suppliers. This was a positive thinking from a CEO that cascaded down to everyone in his company.

And, I love this statement:

The right approach is pledging to do all you can to minimize the impact on employees while we meet the goal that comes first, taking care of customers. Saying employees should come before customers ignores reality. If you want a future for employees and investors, take care of customers first. The next issue is, How do I allocate pain between investors and employees in a downturn?

David Cote


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