Almost all of us have a set of values for our organisations; we all say our people are our most important asset. Which is a terrible saying. We should indeed manage assets, but we lead people. But it is only under pressure our true organisational values are exposed, as are our personal virtues. If they are true values and virtues they do not change due to circumstances. "Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to our eyes. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become" according to renowned scholar Brooke Foss Westcott
So what will we choose? Will we throw out our values because the pressure is on, or will we stay true to what is important to us and those around us? It’s a pivotal question for me because at its core, is a call that will determine the engagement of our stakeholders, and therefore ultimately the organisation’s sustainability.
A crisis is a test of our character as well as our company.
It is hard to implement your crisis strategies and get alignment in your organisation. Perhaps they lack true ownership; and there may be a reason for that. “People own what they help to create.”
How inclusive are you when you plan your crisis response, create ideas and establish direction? Have you demonstrated leadership through transparency and truthfulness? I’d encourage you to stay transparent and stay truthful. It’s transparency and integrity that builds true trust. It’s this that unlocks productivity and innovation; you’re going to need both.
The total turnaround at Gloria Jean’s Coffees was done by and large, by people already in the organisation when it was failing. The innovative ideas were already in the building, as were the resources to deliver the result. Good leaders are just catalysts creating an environment where the good ideas rise, get priority, get ownership and get done.
So even in a crisis, have a culture that is inclusive, embraces diversity, empowers, trusts, and believes, leveraging the potential in your team. Stay true to who you are, your character, and your integrity. Stay true to how you operate, valuing those around you. People will see that, sense it and it will engender a level of loyalty and engagement that will enable you to transcend the circumstances. I’ve had the privilege of seeing it happen many times.