Empathy — that’s always been a good place to start, and now it’s even more critical. (In fact, we recently led a workshop for our portfolio leaders on ‘Leading with empathy’ at our 2020 virtual CEO retreat.)
Are you adopting a tone, and actions, that are genuinely empathic to your customers?
Are you regularly listening to diverse voices to understand their perspective?
Are you being considerate of their needs, while acknowledging that in a crisis, your customer groups may well behave very differently than they would do in ‘normal’ times?
By way of example, the workshop highlighted the work done in 2020 by portfolio company Depop, to commit to a journey of listening, learning and acting to actively embrace and endorse diversity, feature diverse sellers, and create meaningful commitments to those communities, and Depop's own CMO Peter Semple joined the workshop to share his company's journey to those commitments.
Instead of expensive endorsements, have you thought about how you can adopt strategic, and mass, generosity? The workshop highlighted the work that Headspace has done to give away their services to first responders, key workers and the newly unemployed, to help them deal with stress in their lives.
3.UTILITY & AGILITY
Evaluate everything you do through the lens of utility. Is it really valuable? Does it make a real difference?
4.ACTS, NOT ADS
There is a good role for communications out to the world, but think about how you can use that channel to communicate what you are doing with sustainable messages that are not simply ‘momentary,’ but that have lasting value. The workshop highlighted the highly action-focused work by P&G with their Take on Race initiatives.
People do really want to see people in a leadership position make a commitment. In a time when people, companies and leaders can all feel quite vulnerable, if you’d done the homework of listening and understanding, the commitments you make will be all the more genuine and will win out in the end. By example, the workshop highlighted a letter, signed by 28 leading UK CEOs that commits to a comprehensive baseline of measurable, long term actions to accelerate black inclusion within their companies operating and hiring practices.
6.DO IT YOUR WAY
Whatever you do, make it honestly fit who you are, and the purpose of your business. Don’t try to shoehorn yourself somewhere you don’t belong.