There is much dispute around the who actually first said “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything” but the implication is clear. A lack of conviction will leave one highly susceptible to group-think, demagogues and charlatans.
A lack of demonstrable conviction is also what appears to drive the disillusionment with our current political leaders and process.
The developed world appears to be beset by a twin crisis of confidence, moral relativism -driving lack of core values and total cynicism when it comes to our political leaders.
It can be argued that Trump, Brexit, the revolving door of Australian Prime Ministers and the retreat from the two party system are all symptoms of this lack of conviction and erosion of trust.
The electorate appears to crave conviction politicians and clear, visionary leadership. Yet, the combination of constant media scrutiny and ‘analysis’ and the cacophony of special interest demands pushes politicians, with any survival instinct, to move with the mood. Ultimately demolishing any credibility regarding principle.
Devising the solution to that dilemma is truly the modern conundrum.
For business the challenge is that the populace now uses the same cynical and sceptical filter when considering anything those with commercial power have to say them. This presents a significant barrier to effectively interacting with any stakeholders.
A vital step in getting through that filter is to own and live by a set of values that the community views as contributing to both the effective and principled delivery of products and/or services and to broader societal benefit.
It is a basic as ‘don’t tell me what you are going to do for me, show me’.
How many businesses try to engage with stakeholders yet either don’t have a clear set of values to measure their interactions against or act in a manner that gives the lie to any claim to be living by such?
Spending the time and energy to formalise and inculcate a set of values is an investment that will deliver manifold benefit. All business leaders should first engage with their core management team and figure out what they all stand for. Then live it.
To fail to do so is to allow your enterprise to appear as hollow as the populists who may have their moment in the sun only to, sooner rather than later, have it shine through them.
RMKA has worked on developing relevant, beneficial and enduring values for many organisations. It is the core of any sound communication and engagement strategy.