As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world, stories of companies rising up to do good have been popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, there are almost as many stories of company leaders being selfish and short-sighted. We can do better… and we must. The difference between the two: conscious leadership.
Salesforce is a shining example of a conscious company. Marc Benioff, the CEO and a champion for conscious leadership called on Bay Area’s businesses to do the right thing. In late March, Benioff, turned to Twitter to call on companies to pledge not to make any “significant” layoffs for 90 days. In addition, he promised that Salesforce would continue paying hourly workers while their offices were closed. Speaking on CNBC, Benioff said, “This is a moment where
When NY Governor Andre Cuomo put a call for help out to NYC hotels, the Four Seasons was the first to respond. With this in mind, they quickly turned the hotel into the fanciest dormitory ever for health care workers and first responders who lived too far from work or had someone vulnerable at home they needed to stay away from. A number of hotels followed suit: the Wyeth, St. Regis, and the Plaza to name a few. The owner of the New York Four Seasons is paying for the cost to fun the hotel through his company. Considering this, Cuomo and Warner both showed conscious leadership during the crisis.
Brooklyn landlord Mario Salerno is a local hero. In late March, he started hearing from tenants. They were concerned because they wouldn’t be able to make rent in April. So he decided to cancel rent for April for all eighteen apartment buildings he owns. In all, he canceled rent for eighty apartments housing some two hundred grateful tenants.
Starbucks, who gets mixed reviews here, told workers who chose not to go into work in May they would still be paid. Whether they had the virus or were simply afraid of contracting it didn’t matter.
Amazon, Starbucks, and many other companies initially raised the hourly rate of essential workers. Unfortunately, they are planning to retract the so-called hazard pay long before the hazard is behind us. We can only hope they change their minds and do the right thing.
Car manufacturers ordered people back to work around the country this week. However, workers in masks complained that it was too soon, and they were right. Ford had to close two of its plants just a day after they re-opened due to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Sadly, the meatpacking industry is the worst offender. Thousands of workers have become sick, and they’ve been forced back to work in unsafe conditions. Workers at a Purdue chicken plant in Georgia staged a walkout. According to the CDC, “COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred.” We can do better… and we must.
Clearly, these are unprecedented times. We don’t know nearly enough about the virus. We aren’t testing nearly enough people. Nearly more than two months after the first counties began sheltering in place, testing still remains scarce. In other words, we are getting things wrong because there’s so much we just don’t know.
By way of contrast, the difference between companies doing the right thing and those that are the worst can be boiled down to leadership. Specifically, conscious leadership, because these individuals strive to do the right thing. Even when times are tough, they make decisions based on what’s right for their people. They make decisions based on the long term. Conscious leaders know they might miss revenue or suffer from lower profits in the short term. But the short term isn’t what they are thinking about.
Johanna Lyman is the Founder and CEO of NextGen Orgs. She is a Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach with over fifteen years of experience in implementing organization wide change strategies for both Fortune 500 companies and Small Businesses.
At NextGen Orgs, they use a combination of unique delivery methods and processes that crack the code on establishing lasting organizational behavior changes in a relatively short period of time. Their proprietary and evolutionary system can eliminate months of frustration often associated with developing strong leadership and building a cohesive, collaborative team.
Johanna is a professional speaker, available to speak on a variety of topics related to culture, communication, innovation, and leadership skills. She is the Board President for the Bay Area Chapter of Conscious Capitalism and is deeply versed in how to help businesses be a force for good in the world. Learn more (URL: https://www.nextgenorgs.com/about/). Contact Johanna at firstname.lastname@example.org