Pandemic Provides Opportunities for the Enlightened: The E&C Pulse - August 12, 2020

August 12, 2020 Ben DiPietro

Aug. 12, 2020

Pandemic Provides Opportunities for the Enlightened

As we slog through these dog days of the pandemic and a 2020 that history will remember for centuries, people are disoriented, feeling angry, confused, lonely, afraid, and in some cases, defiant. People are looking for something to believe in, something they can trust.


People are looking to the business world for the leadership that is lacking from other facets of society. 


We see this in a recent Axios-Harris Poll that found 75% of respondents said "companies were more reliable than the federal government in keeping America running" during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns. 


We see it in the results of The HOW Institute’s State of Moral Leadership in Business 2020 report, which echo the faith people are placing in corporate leaders to take on roles normally undertaken by other institutions.


For all the companies that signed the Business Roundtable statement in 2019 to focus on issues of not just shareholder profits, but on overall community good, for those groups that issued statements following the widespread protests for racial justice, for those who have done nothing but sit on the sidelines, this is your opportunity.


Your chance to put into action the lofty rhetoric your leaders have aligned to. Your chance to help create the change you say is needed. Your chance to get off the bench, and get involved with the people and the communities in which you make money.


The Axios-Harris poll found large majorities of respondents approve of companies that take on social and societal issues, and as Axios observed: “These expectations are likely to last long after the initial phase of the pandemic.”


This year will put all the rhetoric to the test. It’s been easy so far to lop off some low-hanging fruit, such as an offensive team sports name and logo, or an offensive product image, but the issues will get more complex. 


Organizations that have yet to pass on the costs of this pandemic may yet still do so, with a loss of jobs that could further damage the fragile economy. Will they stand by their people, or lay them off? Will they stand with their communities, and maintain factories and facilities, and provide services for neighbors who are in need? Will they forego some of their profits for the greater good?


These are real issues, that will cost real money, and they will determine who is walking their talk, and who is just talking. And make no mistake, people will be watching, taking notes, and speaking with their purchases.


It’s a real chance for enlightened organizations to make real connections with their customers, their partners, their communities. As the surveys seem to suggest, those that do will be more successful companies than those that don’t.


                                                                                                        BEN DIPIETRO




The pandemic and the move to working from home has helped to further break down office hierarchies.


Has the talk of stakeholder capitalism been mostly for show?


Are you really listening? Or just waiting to speak?


Ron Carucci, part of my webcast panel next week on returning to the office, writes about six ways to deal with a rotten boss.


Cindy Moehring, a guest on Season 3 of LRN's Principled Podcast, writes about how to give voice to your values.


Leading remotely relies more on reliability than charisma, according to research.


Emil Moschella and Joe Murphy write about taking a compliance approach to tackle problems of racism and use of excessive force in police departments.


Surveillance technology is eroding worker trust, and affecting health and wellness. Seven ways to manage remote employees with intelligence.


Five reasons why we don't have more ethical leaders.


Research further validates the connection between diversity and inclusion and increased innovation.


Companies are cutting costs, and older workers are feeling the impacts.

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