With all that is happening and has happened in the world in the last few years, I am struck by the vital role declared and clear values play in all things business – all of the time. During the best of times, our values articulate the day-to-day behaviors that propel us forward in a (hopefully) positive manner that snowballs to great results. In the worst of times, our values guide us on how to respond.

It’s never more important to act in accordance with your values and align with your core constituents (employees need to be our first priority) than during a crisis. Tuning into your employees, your customers and users, you will get a good picture of the range of response and feelings. Then evaluating what’s happening among these people who matter to your business against your values will show you the way forward. Context is so important to understanding how to behave in line with your values. If content is king, then context is Queen, and she must be understood if you want to act well.

Of course, the heavy lift to identify and articulate your values is best done before you need them during a crisis. But if you don’t have them, there’s no time like the present to start this vital work. If you don’t remember them, start reinforcing them, and put them in front of your teams on a regular basis.

Two ways to do this:

  1. Send a Friday email that describes one value and what it means to you and in the company. Better yet, have your team participate in this — rotate the Friday Values Email around your team so that everyone goes deep and shares their point of view and reinforces behaviors, priorities, and guidance.
  2. Start every internal meeting by reviewing one of your values. Our client Silver Spring’s Huntsinger Way is 30 fundamentals that are the basis of its great, distinctive culture. They start every meeting with a different fundamental to regularly remind their growing team about what guides them. It’s an easy way to reinforce and keep building their culture on a regular basis.

In an increasingly smaller world, crises we’re aware of will only increase. Knowing who you are, what you stand for, and what behaviors demonstrate this is the most important communication you can make.