HOUSTON - With many businesses that wondering 'how' they will survive the coronavirus-slowdown, one business leader has written about the path to success, while having to navigate the difficult journey for his own company.
Joel Peterson is the chairman of JetBlue Airlines. He also teaches business at Stanford University, and thinks business leaders will need to be nimble and imaginative, to navigate their way out of the current crisis.
"People are going to have to think like entrepreneurial leaders," says Peterson.
His new book, "Entrepreneurial Leadership" talks about the very qualities, he thinks, will be vital to any organization: building trust with a great team that delivers results aimed at a specific mission.
Front and center, for him, is an airline industry that's largely grounded, with few people willing to fly. Still, he remains optimistic, "We will fly again, and the market will come back and even change."
"Change" may be important for future travelers. Will they tolerate some kind of health screening, smaller planes, or some other yet-to-be-discovered safety regulations? Peterson thinks the answer is 'yes,' because people need to be connected.
"People are going to want to travel. They're going to want to see each other, be with familiy and friends; and, I think in business settings, it's really important to be together," he says.
First, though, airlines need to survive to fly another day. Already, the government has pledged $50 Billion in loans and grants, to bail out the industry. JetBlue will get almost a billion of that. The carrier says it is an investment to preserve jobs and critical infrastructure.
"So we wouldn't have to furlough a bunch of people who would, then, qualify for unemployment benefits. It costs about the same amount of money," says Peterson, "To actually shut down all the airlines, would take a long time to bring it back."
The bailout money will only go so far, while the virus slowdown continues. An industry publication, this month, notes JetBlue is burning through an unsustainable $10 Million a day.
It's the kind of story repeated for all kinds of businesses and industry, desperate to get back to doing what they do.