Nick Gold: Shared purpose and values as we move through the pandemic

By Nick Gold, Speakers Corner

As 2020 draws to a close, we should take a moment to reflect how every facet of our lives, both personally and professionally, has been challenged this year. We have been asked questions about who we are, how we live, what we need and what really matters. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been bought starkly into perspective and our priorities and lifestyles have been questioned by circumstances beyond what anyone could have imagined.

The next 12 months will take us on a journey to discover what the post-pandemic landscape looks like and other challenges will be bought to the forefront. We will find ourselves asking new questions and potentially seeking different lifestyle choices, but there is no doubt we are seeing a synergy in the different elements of our lives as we are seeking answers to the challenges laid out in front of us.

The brutality of the pandemic brought a walk up call that as human beings, we need to embrace our passions, we need to enjoy our journey and we need to take advantage of every moment in our lives. There has been a realisation that events outside our control have the ability to transform the landscape that we thought we existed in and our priorities or purpose can be revealed to have been either lost on the journey or downgraded as we were running to keep up with the fast moving society that we live in.

Within the business community this has been a moment of truth. The past nine months have seen companies trying to maintain the façade of the front that has driven them to great success. The knock-on effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, combined with social media commentary, created a change of societal mindsets and attitudes. This perfect storm exposed the cracks within the façade, giving licence to look beyond and see the true attitudes and purpose of companies. And in many cases, the juxtaposition of the public voice of the company to the actual functioning of the company has resulted in revised outlooks towards these companies.

Both as employees and consumers, we are seeking to align ourselves with products, brands and a way of life that will allow us to fulfil those priorities that we have re-discovered over the last year. In fact, during these days when we are all looking for support mechanisms to help and guide us through, we are looking to find the right network who can give us the strength to push forward with confidence to thrive during the uncertain times ahead.

This should be an exciting time for business leaders and employees. If there is a genuine purpose in the company, with visions and goals that align themselves with business practices, then the future should be a massive opportunity. Employees who share similar values will feel a deeper purpose and connection with their work, and in turn be more committed to the success of the business

For those companies that maybe looked on their vision as words rather than as culture, this is also still an opportunity. There was a reason the vision was created, there was, at one point, an attachment for those who relationship to the company ran deeper than an income for the employees or ‘nice’ product for the customer. This might have got lost on the way as the company navigated its way through the business landscape and the challenges it brings but somewhere at its root, the vision was there to be delivered to.

One of the striking interpretations of this shift in behavioural attitudes due to the pandemic is that this isn’t restricted to a generational or socio-economic model but that it has been imprinted in society as a whole. Each individual in society has been impacted by Covid-19 and their sense of priorities and lifestyle has had to adjust, initially to the pandemic but as each day passes, to how they want to live their lives in the future.

We can look at the polarized world with despair and misery, but we could also look at it with a level of understanding. Individuals want to belong; they want to be able to live and breathe what they believe in. As we move forward into 2021, businesses have a chance to take this new sense of purpose, both from an employee and customer perspective, and drive it forward for a force for good.