The Community Pillar

“Do not just think about how you serve your guest, but on how you impact on the lives of the community around”.

One would think the above was said by a leading hospitality player but in fact it was said recently by a CEO of a leading financial institution.

There is a genuine sea change which is taking place where companies now understand that they can not just operate as a silo but have a role to play in something which is bigger and can be more influential. The CEO was describing, in conversation, his belief that a company does need today to possess high aspirations in how it behaves, both to their clients and to the community in which it sits.

In conversation, he went onto say “One of the biggest shifts has been an understanding that we were consistently losing respect because we were seen to be untrustworthy. Of course, this meant that we would lose clients and not be able to attract the best talent that we wanted. It was a hard realisation. It did remind me of the Conservative Party back in about 2002 when they openly accepted that they were seen as “The Nasty Party “. It took them 5 years to accept and another 7 or 8 years to become electable. It has probably taken us a decade to accept and it may take another decade to win back real trust but that is the journey we have to begin.”

He is not alone. Many C-Suite executives are working hard to lead real cultural change within their businesses. There is a widespread acceptance that a lot of the problems documented has been as a result of poor leadership and poor behaviours. Too many companies did give up on investing in their cultures and their people in order to register the best results that they could. There are many CEOs and MDs who are now working hard to ensure that their business teams do start reinvesting back, not just in people, but the purpose of the company, the meaning of the company, its values, culture and messaging.

It is a shift in mindset, an aspiration back to believing in something bigger, which is taking place across all markets.

It was an experienced hotelier who remarked that; “It took me ages to realise that the guest was not visiting us but that we were playing an active role in their lives.”

It may be a subtle difference but creates a major difference in how people behave towards another.

Naturally, there is a lot of negativity over the challenges to be faced but many also harbour great hopes that we will see greater care, compassion and commitment emerge from this; towards teams, people and communities.

It is well documented that many see Covid-19 has a crisis which could well lead to fare better leadership in the future.