Insight

What is the value of reputation?

The words on your website or your brochure – the public statement of your values – are intended to be a guide for every business decision you make, whether you employ 10,000 people, ten people or just yourself.

Things are changing fast at the moment and everything you do matters.

How are you deciding what to do next?

Events are being cancelled or postponed.  Teams are working remotely if they can.  Contracts are being delayed.  Anything deemed non-essential to business life is being questioned.  But how do you define what is essential?

Solid values make company priorities clearer and decision making easier.

Is your first responsibility to deliver returns for your investors?  Is it to get a project completed and in use before the country self-isolates?  Is it to look after your people and manage the impact on business continuity?

We are all balancing our priorities and the choices we make in these next days and weeks will reflect where our values lie.

How are you communicating?

Internal and external communications are important.  Gossip loves a vacuum and we encourage you to get ahead of the rumour mill.  Write your thoughts down and ask an uninvolved person to give it balance.  Share the thinking behind your actions.  Be clear about your decisions, whether they are permanent or temporary.

Avoid uncertainty.

Technology is your friend here.  Not just email and social media, but video conferencing and live streaming.  Communication is a two-way street and in uncertain times, listening can be more important than talking.  Become confident with video conferencing and encourage people to chat.

And don’t forget the small stuff.  The conversation around the water cooler, the meaningful “how are you?”, the birthday cards and little celebrations.  This is what makes us human.

Beware the lockdown

In establishing protocols for people to work from home, to avoid mass gatherings, to stay safe and healthy, there are a lot of instructions for things not to do.  But remember – humans are social beings and isolation can become unhealthy.  If you’ve been talking about mental health at work this year, now is the time to stay in touch, on the phone and on the screen.

Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

And please, consider the consequences of any decisions you make – the travel, events and hospitality supply chain is really hurting right now.  How can you support those businesses in other ways?

This too will pass…

…and we suspect that the world will be slightly different on the other side.  For a while at least.

What you do – and how it reflects your company values – matters.

Reputation. It takes a lifetime to build and moments to destroy.

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