Creating societal value is one of the pillars of the CCO as Pacesetter, something the novel coronavirus pandemic is bringing into even sharper focus. Indeed, CCOs are finding that purpose and values no longer require promulgation. Now the drive to live these values that relate to the organization's mission is coming spontaneously from employees.
Medtronic realized that the scale of this crisis was so immense that increasing production of their ventilators would not be enough to meet the needs of healthcare teams on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients. So they voluntarily open sourced their IP and actively sought production partners like Intel and Tesla. PayPal is helping deliver stimulus funds to people and increasing access to payment services. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pressing hard for relief for the small businesses that have been especially hard hit by lockdowns. Google’s early action to prioritize employees' health by switching to remote for non-essential employees helped push public policy.
In these respects and in many others, Comms finds itself on the front lines. Business leaders are looking to our function to help them literally do their jobs, and CCOs and their teams are having to learn rapidly about manufacturing, operations, legal and other dimensions of the organization adjusting to extreme disruption. At the same time, companies are beginning to plan for the “new normal” that will follow the crisis, so Comms is being asked to help think about future business models at companies like Vanguard. Through it all, internal communications have moved to the fore – and are no longer primarily about advocating policy or delivering corporate messages. Today, engaging employees is more about emotional attentiveness to people’s needs and fears.
These organizations were among those whose CCOs shared their learning and striking wisdom during this week’s Hot Topics calls. Here are some takeaways from those discussions.
Special thanks to moderators Becky Edwards formerly of Schneider Electric and Billie Cole of Rakuten for leading an active discussion and Michelle Russo, US Chamber of Commerce; Greg McCullough, Medtronic; Franz Paasche, Paypal; Rebecca Katz, Vanguard and Emily Singer, Google for contributing to the call with their informed perspectives.
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