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In over your head? Admit it

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Over your headSoon after Philip Krim co-founded his company, Casper, success turned to stress.

Casper ships mattresses directly to customers’ homes. When recipients open the golf bag-sized box, the squeezed-in mattress pops out and unfolds.

Sales surged from the outset. The company hit $1 million in sales within a month and generated $100 million within a year. By 2016, it earned $200 million.

As CEO, Krim admits “the business is bigger than we anticipated.” But rather than panic, he’s engaging in open, honest communication with his 300 employees—and the public.

Early on, Krim realized that Casper could not meet the huge demand for his new product. He promised shipments within two weeks of purchase, but many shoppers did not receive their mattress for six weeks due to an order backlog.

Now 33, Krim decided to level with his customers. He apologized and sent gifts and contrite letters to individuals who endured long waits for their mattress.

He also encouraged employees to reach out to frustrated consumers, explain the situation and reassure them. He rightly figured that proactive communication—and not hiding from the public—would ultimately enhance the company’s image.

Transparent communication worked so well that Krim applied it internally. He started sharing Casper’s growth plans with his workforce, especially as head count grew.

“If you’re planning to bring on senior leaders in six, or 12, or 18 months, communicate that with the people that will ultimately report to them, so that everyone has an idea as to how you’re going to evolve the org when the timing is right,” he says.

This way, employees are prepared for supervisory changes—and they won’t feel blindsided if they arrive one day to find a new manager in charge.

— Adapted from “The CEO of Casper shares the biggest lessons he’s learned from growing his mattress company to $750 million in 5 years,” Richard Feloni, www.businessinsider.com.

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