What’s most valuable in times of crisis?

When crisis hits, people turn to trusted sources, proven leaders and solid advice. How leaders perform in these difficult times will have impacts lasting long beyond the next payday.

What you say and how you say it has rarely been more consequential than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Reputation is the currency of crisis,” said professor Steven Callender of Stanford University Graduate School of Business during a video presentation to hundreds of business leaders this week.

Every day, we see examples of business, government and non-profit leaders who are putting their reputation on the line – encouraging people to follow their well-meaning advice and direction.

Some are inspiring trust; others are exposing their weaknesses.

As you prepare each communication with people, consider these questions:

1. Are you honest and open?

The truth comes out in the end. Candor is better than comfort, even in difficult times. And after the crisis passes, your words and deeds remain.

2. Are you helpful?

The information you share — and how you share it – should help people make a positive difference. Good leaders create ambassadors; bad ones create adversaries.

3. Are you leading for today and tomorrow?

Every crisis passes. Will people think well of your leadership and your company, agency or organization when the new normal begins? Don’t get so consumed by the cost of immediate actions that you forget how they will be measured later.

My business coach, Tony Schy, shared this wisdom: When the flight gets bumpy, the captain comes on the speaker and shares good, honest advice in a calm, reassuring manner to help passengers protect themselves.

Be the captain. Be the captain NOW.

Chad Carlton, C2 Strategic Communications

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