As our world continues to be in a state of turmoil and unprecedented challenges, there has never been a more critical time for leaders of organizations – be they corporations, non-profits, government entities or neighborhood groups – to step forward with clear, concise and authentic messages regarding what they believe and stand for.
The past couple of weeks have been a wake-up call for our country and its leaders, telling us that we must individually and collectively do more to clarify what beliefs guide our actions and what we will and will not tolerate in the workplace and in our country.
Much of our immediate focus, as a company whose business for 38 years has been built around helping our clients communicate their most important messages with clarity and impact, has pivoted rather dramatically to responding to our clients’ needs to help them craft the right words to express to both their internal and their external audiences in terms of how they intend to respond to the issues of equality, diversity and fairness that are facing our society.
There are some inspiring examples from companies such as Best Buy’s CEO Corie Barry, expressing with unequivocal clarity what will and will not be tolerated in their workplace and reiterating their support to fund hundreds of teen centers all across the country in disinvested neighborhoods.
These are times when true leadership makes itself quickly known, when those in positions to truly impact the common good step forward bravely and without hesitation, and when people at every level of their organizations feel empowered to become an active, engaged part of the solution.
This is not a time to pretend like it’s business as usual. It’s not. It is one of those critical, pivotal times when companies, organizations and individuals who believe that equality and inclusion are key to our country’s survival should step forward with messages of clarity regarding what they believe, what they will not tolerate, and what they intend to do in order to help our nation heal and move forward.
No one has all the answers, but there are some key communications initiatives that organizational leaders can take now to start tackling some of the tough issues we are facing:
- CEO’s should quickly step forward to express their positions on these issues and to craft statements regarding how they intend to lead in terms of creating a more even playing field for all people.
- Examine the various systems within your company – from technology to hiring and on-boarding processes to mentoring opportunities. Are they working in light of improving equality and diversity in your workplace?
- Engage openly and bravely with your employees on these topics. Be sure you know what they think and how they feel, and actively solicit their input regarding workplace improvements in this regard.
- Transparently communicate to your employees as well as to your customers and shareholders what you intend to do and how and when you are committed to doing it.
- Then keep the dialogue going as you move through the execution of your plans. Invite comments from your key audiences and continue to communicate openly and often with them.
As communicators ourselves, we see this as a unique moment in time to use our expertise in this regard to help important messages of hope and intention be conveyed to audiences who anxiously await news of how their leaders will guide the actions of their organizations toward positive change.