What Do Your Values Look Like In Crisis?

There’s plenty of content flying around right now about leading during a crisis. I’m not going to regurgitate what’s already out there. Yes, you should show strength and communicate clearly. Yes, you should seek advice and remain positive. All great suggestions. However, I want to talk about core values in action.

The global pandemic upon us has turned our world upside down. Everyone, everywhere has felt the impact. We’re filled with deep concern and uncertainty and there’s no sign of reprieve. As the events continue to unfold, I’ve closely observed core values of companies turn into action, both good and bad. Some companies are continuing to pay employees and embracing the concept of work from home. For some companies, working from home is not possible but they’re continuing to pay their employees. Companies are going to great lengths to avoid layoffs by cutting executive salaries. Many companies are donating resources, converting operations to make new products like hand sanitizer or rapidly scaling operations to produce critical, healthcare supplies. For these companies, their core values demonstrate their commitment to people, both inside and outside of their company. In other cases, company actions are not so encouraging. I’ve heard many stories of employees forced to work despite expressing repeated concerns about worker safety and health. Some have threatened to fire staff if they’re not willing to conform. Rather than closing, companies have sought loopholes in shutdown policies to remain open. Other companies have turned to price gouging and panic marketing to buffer their bottom line. For these companies, their core values may be nonexistent or merely wall decoration for the break room.

Core values shape crisis response thus displaying a company’s true colors in full view. Companies who are truly committed to people, compassion, integrity and teamwork will shine. Even though we’re all deep in emotions right now, think about your core values and how they’re sharing your response.

HOW YOU RESPOND demonstrates your values more than WHAT YOU SAY.