With our world turned upside down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are in crisis mode. These are the times people will remember for the rest of their lives. This crisis will be a marker – how leaders and organizations reacted will be etched in people’s minds forever and a narrative will form that will live on for years, if not decades.
For instance, we all remember where we were on 9/11. I was an International Sales Director at the time and I remember the outpouring of support that came in from our customers and sales representatives across the globe. I also remember leadership at my company making themselves visible and available to talk about what had just happened. That unity and poise under pressure made me proud and served the company well years later when it was selected to provide the exterior glass for the Freedom Tower in New York.
To illustrate another example, what marked me personally during the Great Recession was a day when my company had to lay off 164 employees as orders were canceled and demand dried up. It was a chaotic and emotional time. As a leader, I personally met with all of the employees who were let go and conducted many face-to-face meetings with employees who remained. I am sure we made mistakes (that can be reserved for another blog), but I also know we tried very hard to live our values during that uncertain and unsettling time.
In today’s crisis, I think about all of the extra work people are putting in to respond to the pandemic. In the midst of the chaos and changes that are occurring, it would be easy to forget about the values we say we live by. But now, more than ever, is what people will remember. Here are some examples:
- Communication: Is leadership taking time to communicate with and listen to employees?
- Appreciation: Is the organization recognizing employees who are going the extra mile during this time?
- Social Connection: What is the organization doing to ensure employees stay connected during this time of social distancing and working from home?
- Well Being: How is the organization keeping their employees safe during this time?
- Customer Focus: What is the organization doing to stay connected to clients, keeping customers safe and meeting customer expectations amid so many changes?
These are the things employees and clients will remember for a long time, because when the pressure is on is when we find out what is really important to people and organizations.
We recently conducted a couple of webinars that might help leaders and organizations think through these issues. We invite you to check them out:
We would love to hear from you and any examples of how your organization is “living its values” in today’s environment!