• Timothy Henry

Episode #7: Conscious Culture (Part 2)

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


What is a Conscious Culture? Last week we defined it in terms of T.A.C.T.I.L.E. - the way a conscious culture feels; this week we go a little deeper into why this matters, especially in current times!



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References:


Johnson, B. (2014). Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems (2nd Edition). HRD Press.

Kotter, J.P., Heskett, J.L. (1992). Corporate Culture and Performance. New York: Free Press.

Robinson, K. (2017). Out of Our Minds: The Power of Being Creative. Capstone, 3rd Edition.

Sandel, M.J. (2020). The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? Allen Lane, Penguin Books / Random House.

Seidman, D. (2011). How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything. Wiley.

Sisodia, R., Gelb, M.J. (2019). The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World. Harper Collins Leadership.

Taylor, C., Fajak, A. (2019). Agile Culture: Be-ing Agile. Walking the Talk, Future of Work Series. Walking the Talk blog.


Mackey, J., Sisodia, R. (2014). Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business. Harvard Business Review Press.

Sisodia, R., Henry, T., Eckschmidt, T. (2018). Conscious Capitalism Field Guide. Harvard Business Review Press.



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Episode Transcript:

Timothy: Hello everybody, and welcome to Episode 7 of the Conscious Capitalists with myself, Timothy Henry, and my partner in arms on this journey, Raj Sisodia. Hi, Raj.

Raj: Hi. Hi, Timothy. Good to see you again.

Timothy: Good to see you again. And last week we sort of did an introduction to Conscious culture and reused one of your famous acronyms, T.A.C.T.I.L.E., to do that. And I thought today we would maybe go a little deeper into some aspects about why culture matures and maybe talk a little bit about how it matters, particularly now, in the time of coronavirus and working from home. And if we have time, maybe a little bit about culture change.

So, I think maybe there’s two aspects of why culture matters. The first is making the business case for it. And maybe I’ll start with that, and we can talk about that a little bit. And then I think it would be great to go into the people focus, the humanity part of it, and talk a little bit about healing organizations. Sound good?

Raj: Yeah.

Timothy: All right. Well, the business case at one level has been made, and I’ll just review a couple of statistics throwing out there. Really, when you look at the Great Places to Work over the last 20 years, those companies that are publicly traded companies and are tracked against the Russell 2000, they have three times higher return than those that are their peers. So, the first thing is, having a great culture clearly has been demonstrated to have good financial returns. And at another level, those same companies have half the turnover rate versus their industry peers. And that has a two-fold effect. I think one is on the cost side. You have less churn, less training, hiring, other costs. But also on the experience side of keeping that experience and keeping that knowledge inside the firm is really important. So those are two statistics that I like to throw out. What about yourself? When you think about the business case, what do you think about?

Raj: Yeah. So there’s the Great Places to Work. Of course, there’s employee engagement, which is strongly connected to that and all the data that Gallup has around that in terms of performance implications. And there’s also the classic study that was done on this by Kotter & Heskett in a book called Corporate Culture and Performance that came out some years ago. And they divided cultures into two categories. So one was constructive and adaptive cultures. It’s when some have the positive energy and then evolved over time. And then you have the aggressive and sort of rigid cultures. Because every company has a culture, whether you pay attention to it or not. And by default, many cultures ended up in that category. But they looked at the performance of companies over time based upon which of these two cultures best described them. I think over a 15-year period they found revenue growth was about four times higher, 682% versus 166%. The stock price appreciation was 900% worse than 74%. So that’s about 12 or 14 times higher. And the net income growth was even more dramatic, 756% versus just 1%. So the performance implications of this are very clear, and at some level, that should not be a surprise to any of us, because ultimately, every business runs on human energy. And that’s the caring and creative energy, not the physical energy.


Timothy: Yeah.

Raj: I think that’s really the secret.

Timothy: I love that, Raj. When I’m sometimes giving talks about Conscious Culture, I say, listen, in the end it’s not as complicated as it sometimes sounds. It’s really about caring. Are you working in a place where you feel people care about you and you care about the people you work with? So, if you don’t feel like people care about you, you’re not going to be at your best. And that’s just a human trait. And then the second one I talk about is meaning. Is my work meaningful? Do I feel like it matters, like my work matters in some way? And then the third is, do I feel like I’m having an impact and if I’m making a difference. I don’t want to be going in and counting pins on the left and moving them to the right and sayings, great, I moved the pins from left to right, but I didn’t really feel like I did anything that was meaningful or impactful. So those to me are sort of very core human things. And to your point about bringing out the best in people and organizations that do that.

You and I were talking earlier, and you mentioned Microsoft as a really interesting example. Maybe you want to talk about that a little bit more.

Raj: Yeah. So I’ve been looking at Microsoft as a company. Of course, all of us have grown up with Microsoft as being part of the atmosphere we lived in, right. Bill Gates had a clear sense of purpose, which was essentially to Democratize computing, to put a computer on every desk to make this ubiquitous. And it’s one of those rare situations where he did achieve his purpose. So in the 14 years that he was CEO – he stayed on as chairman after that for a while – but in the 14 years he was CEO, the company had an enormous impact on the world, grew tremendously, became dominant, almost a monopoly, as you know, on the desktop with operating systems and application software like Microsoft Office. So, his track record was tremendous in terms of achieving purpose, as well as financial value, right. They went from 0 to $250 billion in marketing cap, which in those years was a lot. Nowadays, companies are much larger. They were close to making the most revenue…

Timothy: It’s still a big number. You couldn’t count that high in a lifetime. But go ahead.

Raj: It used to be General Electric from this sort of old-world economy, and then Microsoft in the new world economy that were at the top of those lists. So, again, if you look at the culture side of that, it’s always a reflection of the leader. The CEOs persona, in a way, becomes the persona of the company, especially if it’s a founder, as was the case. Bill Gates had a strong personality but was very much focused on excellence and focused on results, right. And, of course, on coding itself. So, it was a harsh culture in a way. He would say things like, that’s the stupidest think I’ve ever heard and yell at people in front of others, embarrass them at meetings and so forth. But his persona became the ideal persona. Can you be like Bill if you want to succeed at Microsoft?

But it wasn’t a nurturing, caring place, by any means. You didn’t have a holistic, whole human being capacity to show up in that way. And then he stepped down and his deputy, Steve Ballmer, became the CEO. Now Ballmer, and after the company where the purpose had become irrelevant because the purpose had been achieved and he didn’t have the vision to say, ok, what’s our renewed purpose now? Where do we go from here? It became for him back to the default of profit maximization. So, it was all about the numbers. In the 14 years that he ran the company, it was all about the numbers. I actually met people who reported directly to him, two different divisions of Microsoft, and there was tremendous fear about brining things up to Steve. And all he said was bring me the numbers up from your division. It teaches a profit center. They said we want to cooperate with the other division to do some interesting things, so they said, just shut up and give me the numbers. So, people literally were discouraged or prohibited from collaborating within the company. There’s a classic cartoon. You can probably find it if you Google the organizational chart at Microsoft. It was depicted as a serious of silos with guns pointing at each other.



Timothy: I know that image because it’s fascinating when you bring up the word fear. There’s lots of human performance studies that are now out that demonstrate very clearly that fear literally narrows your view. The way we are biologically wired, you have a fear reflex. When the fear comes in, your brain narrows down.

Raj: And you become incapable of creative thinking.

Timothy: Exactly. Yeah. The innovation, the creation of new things. Even the openness of having open dialogue about issues that are on the table. So, yeah. It’s innovation. But it’s even about the openness that a team feels. If there’s a sense of fear in the room, people are not going to go and feel comfortable having that dialogue. And they won’t be able to bring their best selves to addressing some of the tough issues, the difficult issues, because their range of emotional responsiveness is highly narrowed. And then to your point, we’re not at our most creative when somebody’s holding a gun to our head.

Raj: And that can only take you so far. You can make somebody run pretty fast out of fear for a short amount of time, and then they will collapse and die. So that was the culture. So, if you look at over 14 years, Microsoft became sort of irrelevant. They missed the mobile revolution; they missed the Cloud revolution. They were just still sending you boxes of Windows and all those things. And the world was moving on. So there was no growth strategy. There was no sense of purpose. And the culture was terrible. And you look at over 14 years, the market cap only went from $250 billion to about $300 billion. So $50 billion added, about $3 billion a year roughly.

Then comes Satya Nadella. And he comes in and right away focuses on two things. One is a renewed sense of purpose. We need to figure out why we are still relevant. Why does the world still need Microsoft? And that came partly through recognition of some of the changes that had happened in the world, right. The world was going mobile; the world was going Cloud, etc. So those were big, huge opportunities that Microsoft had missed out on. In fact, Ballmer had bought Nokia in a desperate bid to save Windows Phone, that business. Within the first year, Nadella had to write off an entire investment of $14 billion or so. So he came up with a renewed strategy around Cloud, around mobile. Came up with a new sense of purpose around listening to customers and the whole thing. The inner culture was rooted in empathy. Empathy became the guiding value. Nadella himself embodied that because he has a special needs son, and he shared that with his leadership team on the first retreat that they had and encouraged others to share their humanity as well with each other. And that value of empathy was new to Microsoft.

Timothy: Yes.

Raj: This was not a touchy feel culture, by any means. But that has become their strongest source of strength now. So, again, they’ve got all the cylinders firing, right. So again, with Conscious Capitalism, these pillars are all important, and they all re-enforce each other and they’re synergistic with each other. So two plus two equals much more than four when you purpose and culture and a strong strategy and all the rest of it, stakeholder mindset, together. And you see that reflected in the performance. Microsoft seemingly out of nowhere is almost tied with Apple to be the world’s most valuable company. In fact, they were; Apple suddenly shot up recently. The last time I looked, they’re about $1.6 trillion in market cap.

Timothy: Wow.

Raj: So he’s created over six years about $1.3 trillion in additional market value.

Timothy: Yeah. Pretty amazing.

Raj: Which is almost unheard of.

Timothy: Yeah.

Raj: Doing $200 plus billion a year. So the financial performance has been extraordinary, but it has become an exciting, meaningful place to work for people. And the innovations and the new technologies just keep flowing out of there.

Timothy: Yeah. Well I like that point about the innovation. Again, we can go back to the “business case”, so to speak. And Microsoft demonstrates that in terms of market cap. And increasingly, there is a lot of talk about companies needing to be more agile and be more adaptive, innovation. And I remember Sir Ken Robinson, who unfortunately passed away two weeks ago. Sir Ken was the first emcee at our first CEO summit when we began all of this. And he just became a dear friend after that. And was always talking about creativity and innovation. Around the world he would give these wonderful innovative workshops for a day. He would leave and then it would be like, nothing happened. We had an innovation workshop. Check the box. So I want to put innovation in the context of people often come to me and they say, so what’s going to happen to jobs and cultures as we get more robotics and more AI? And my response is, the more human businesses are going to win. So as much as we start to worry about what appears to be these nonhuman elements, the cultures that are actually more human are probably going to be more able to adapt to these changes. You just think about the levels of trust and engagement when you’re trying to find out new ways of working that take advantage of robotics and AI, the companies with very low levels of trust and engagement. People are going to be very fearful. They’re not going to be willing to be innovative and find new ways of working with these technologies to the advantage of the business. So weirdly enough, as people start worrying about the human impact of some of these technologies, it’s really the human cultures and the leaders who build those kinds of people-focused cultures who are probably going to have an advantage in this kind of space.

And there’s a report that came out last year about the agile mindset. It was published by a group called Walk the Talk, led by a woman who has been in the culture field for a long time, Caroline Taylor, and the leader of their UK business, Amanda Fajak. And I loved it because it really started to talk about the difference between agile ways of being versus agile as a process, and it being part of a mindset and being part of a culture that you start to develop. And what I liked about it was that, in essence, you start thinking about a layer cake. At one level you’ve got TACTILE – the core conscious culture. And then you lay over that another set of cultural practices. Only four of them, but around customer-centricity. And I don’t just mean customers are important. But customers as raving fans. Like how do we co-create with our customers? How do we understand a day in the life of our customers? Deep, deep customer-centricity. The second was around self-direction. The idea that people in these kinds of businesses have to be very comfortable with the idea of self-direction. We can talk about independence and empowering, but if people aren’t comfortable with self-direction, that’s not going to work. And then they had two others. One was a culture of experimentation where people were constantly trying to do rapid prototyping and failing was ok. And then the final was building collaborative networks that integrate across the organization. And encouraging that.

I’m always reminded of when Zappos build their new headquarters in Las Vegas. Tony Hsieh designed it so there would only be one entrance. There were a lot of exits. You have to have a lot of exits for fire code reasons. But there was one entrance into this massive hall where they had a lounge and they have a cafeteria. And the idea was to create more collisions so that when everybody came in, they would be forced to interact with one another. And that became the core of being to create these collaborative networks. So, in a sense, if you could have this first layer of we have that trust and engagement that we’re looking for in a TACTILE organization and you overlay it with these four, you start to be building on a complete set of what it takes to be agile and innovative. And then the last layer is probably one of having what I call ‘freedom within a framework’. You create an operating system within the business that says this is how we start to run the business a little differently. So that includes things like, how do we share power. How do we plan and set priorities? How do we divide the work up? What can only the top team do? And then you keep cascading that down to what’s the thing that only the next level can make decisions on and cascade that down. And how they share data, how open they are, how transparent they are, and how the top team invests its time. You put those things together, and you start to have what I call an operating system. This is how we run the business. So at the top you have how we run the business, sort of freedom within a framework. Here’s the framework; everybody understands it. We give you freedom within that. And then that focus at the next level on those four bits of customer centricity, the experimentation, self-direction, collaborative networks, and then all of that rests on trust and engagement.

Now when you do it and put it together, you now are creating a very conscious, agile, adaptive, innovative culture. And that’s what the future is going to look like. And if you’re not moving in that direction, then your ability to compete in markets is going to be hampered. And I think Microsoft is a great example of how they’ve started to put all those layers together in a way that helps them be much more innovative and be challenging Amazon in the Cloud computing world.

Raj: Yeah, out of nowhere. They went from 0 to 50 within a matter of a few years. And I think that the links that you just made are very important because we talk in the book about Conscious Culture and management. So, the management approaches that we use have to be linked to the culture we have. And this idea of freedom within a framework, I love that too. Dov Seidman has talked about that idea in his book How – a lot about culture. But companies that have a greater amount of freedom inside do outperform because people can then show up and be creative and innovative and create new things. But without freedom from and freedom too.

Timothy: Right.

Raj: Freedom from unnecessary rules and bureaucracy and all of that and then freedom to create.

Timothy: Yeah.

Raj: But there have to be some guardrails in there. And I think that’s one of the interesting dances that we have to do with values and things like that. If we go too far in one extreme, then we move to towards anarchy eventually, right. And there’s no cohesiveness.

Timothy: Right. Yeah.

Raj: But then on the other side that’s all structure and there’s a stifling. So there’s always a pair of values that go together. So it has to be freedom with a framework or some kind of structure.

Timothy: And I think people struggle with what that means. That’s why I call it an operating system. It really becomes what is your management system for how you run the business? And that’s why there are ways of defining it in terms of where does the power sit? Where do decisions get made? How do we plan and set priorities? What meetings do we have? What teams have what decision rights? What are the things that are not negotiable? And what are the things that are? And getting everybody aligned around we have a purpose and we have a strategy, and you need to be aligned around these things. And within that, you have freedom. And I think that it’s that layering effect that then makes a complete set when you’re trying to say, how do I think about this? How do I move in this direction?

Raj: Well, one of the other things that I’ve been thinking about recently in this regard, we talk about values, obviously. Values are at the core of culture. And we talk about TACTILE and all those kinds of ideas. But one of the things that I’ve been recognizing is the power of polarities. If you identify a value as being a good value, and these are all very, very good values that you want to embody, but if you just focus on that value in an of itself, you might miss the fact that there’s a sort of related value to that that you might be missing. There’s a company called Natura in Brazil, and they went through this exercise some years ago and identified each of their core values.

Timothy: Yes. Yes.

Raj: So, for example, being careful and respectful of others is a core value in their culture. And that sounds great. How can you be against that? But there’s a polarity there because if you go too far in that direction, then the polarity is being honest and authentic with others.

Timothy: Yes. Yes.

Raj: So if you’re too caring and respectful all the time, it means sometimes you’re going to brush things under the carpet that need to be brought out. So that’s the polarity. We want to make sure that while we’re being caring and respectful, we are also aware of the need to be honest and authentic with others.

Timothy: Yes. I love that, Raj. I think that’s so important. I’m working with a very big technology company right now on doing some leadership development. And one of the things that we’re working with them on is this polarity – the ability to have freedom AND a framework. And it’s really interesting. Because when you take that polarity – and for every light there’s a shadow. So as soon as you say there’s good, it implies there’s something bad. And that’s the wrong approach. It’s like, how do you find that middle ground. And it’s interesting. Barry Johnson has written the first book on polarities, and he does an interesting set of exercises where he says, ok, take one of these values. What are the good things about it? And when it’s overused, what are the bad things? And now you put the two. Here’s freedom, here’s framework. And you put that bad things, good things, bad things good things. And you suddenly have a very good dialog with the team around how do we find that polarity in the middle, so we avoid the bad things? And you, at the same time, can accentuate and find the balance with the good things.

Raj: And it’s not even so much the middle. I think about it as how do we get the positives of both poles and stay away from the negatives of both poles.

Timothy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a better way of putting it, Raj. That’s where you want to go. And you describe. What are the strengths of this? What are the downsides of it? And then as a team, you have that dialog of how are we going to get the best from this? And what are the signals we look for when we’re going in the wrong direction so that we start to have some early signals of, wait a minute. We may not be planning this right. I think that’s a really important point. I think it’s increasingly important around the mindset that leaders need to have. And we’ll come at that in our next podcast. We get into leadership.

But I’m also interested, Raj. We talked about the business case, innovation, all those things. But you and I’ve had this conversation before that there’s also a human element. You’ve written a great book on that, The Healing Organization. And I’d love you to talk a little bit more about what does that mean for culture when we start looking at it from the healing organization point of view?

Raj: Yeah. So, a lot of cultures, the default culture is focused on performance and numbers and accountability and metrics and all of that, right. and effectiveness and so forth. And when you just have that as a focus, we kind of lose sight of the people and what’s happening with them. And you end up where we are, which is 15% engagement worldwide. 85% of people showing up at work and having a pretty bad to terrible experience.

Timothy: And the number that hasn’t moved in the last 10 years, surprisingly. Surprisingly.

Raj: And so, that’s just sad. That’s just sad. The fact is, Freud, I believe, said love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness. And for most people, work is something to be survived whereas it can be the deeper source of meaning and fulfillment for us in our lives. Work is inherently meaningful for human beings. And so there is something not working with the way that we are working. But then as I thought about it, what is business? In a free society, governments don’t take care of us. Businesses are given that opportunity to meet our needs, which is if you take care of somebody, that means you meet their needs, right. So we have lots of needs in different areas and different businesses spring up in order to satisfy those needs. Now you can do that with a different energy. Two different energies.

One is that you view that as a gap that you’re going to fill. So I’m going to achieve my goals by using customers and employees and others and basically making money in that way. So it goes from wanting to serve you to I’m going to actually use you. I want to create some appetites within you that I’m going to then feed. Wants, desires and addictions rather than real needs. Marketing is pretty clever at that and actually getting people to have those wants, desires and addictions. But that ultimately ends up causing suffering because we end up using people to achieve our goals as opposed to saying I’m going to make you whole. I want to take care of you and meet your real needs that you have in life. And I want to do that as a means of expressing my own person I’m being in the world, right. So, I start the business to serve others and to express myself and to really care for others by meeting their needs. And with that energy, that’s a healing energy because I make you whole. The root of the word healing is in holiness and in wholeness. So, I make you whole when I fulfill these real needs that you have, not wants, desires and addictions.

Timothy: Yeah.

Raj: So, this book is an exploration of that idea that business can be thought about as fundamentally about healing, because it is about us taking care of each other through this miracle called business. I view it as a business as we are here to care for each other, and business is a way to scale that.

Timothy: Yeah.

Raj: We can care for each other at scale, if again, the right energy is behind it.

Timothy: I love that, Raj. I mean, there’s a very popular book called Homo Sapiens, which is out. And I think one of the hypotheses they have in that books is that the reason why humans as a species evolved was because we were able to create meaning outside our group. So, we were able to share meaning in a larger circle outside of our family, and that allowed us to build trust with larger groups. So, the Neanderthals would still work in their family units of 20 or 30 people, but the Homo Sapiens, because we could communicate and create meaning and create caring that went outside of our family circle, were able to create larger groups so that they could mobilize. And therefore, you had 150 people going to the buffalo hunt and not 30. So you got more buffalo. You got into a tribal battle. You had more mobilization. And I bring that up because I think it’s so important that we sometimes begin to think that organizations exist as these abstract entities out there that are just facts of existence versus organizations are made of people. And we are all human beings. And how do we bring the best of humanity to deal with the problems and issues and challenges we have. We happen to know that businesses are a great way to organize efficiently to do that. But it flips the text around and says businesses exist for humanity rather than humans, or are only allowed to exist, because they have some usefulness for a business. And I think that attitude is increasingly so important in terms of how we evolve our thinking about businesses. Can you give a couple of examples of some of your favorite companies? When you were doing the book, what I loved about the book is that you had about 20 companies in it. Pick a couple and maybe tell a little bit of the story of those.

Raj: Yeah. Well, one of them is AppleTree Answers, and the story of a chapter we call The Parable of the Pothole. I think it illustrates a universal issue that exists in the world of business today, and we’re really going to have to focus on that coming out of this pandemic especially. And goes to what you were just talking about, putting people at the center. The fact is that most of our companies have a kind of cost system within them. You’ve got a small group of people who are actually taken care of relatively well as managers, executives, the college-educated professional, fulltime, salary, benefits, development plans, etc. But then in many companies you’ve got the 85% of employees who are actually doing the work, is answering the phones, and they are often mostly hourly paid. Many of them are part-time. There are no benefits. There’s no development path. There’s high churn. 150% annual turnover. Very, very low engagement. And life is difficult. And the fact is they represent the majority of the workforce. In the US, about 100 million, two-thirds of the workforce is on hourly jobs. And about 80 million of those are paycheck to paycheck. They have no savings. Life for them is a constant struggle, and any small pothole that shows up in your life can derail you completely.

Timothy: Yeah. Yeah.

Raj: They’re living with that anxiety, and then the reality of something happening. So that story is an illustration of a company that recognizes this reality that existed and initially started because of looking at the low engagement and high turnover and said, oh my God, we have to do something about this and then found out what their life is really like and then created a program to help them deal with these potholes in their lives. And after a period of initial reluctance of people to come forward, because people are stoic, and people are heroic. They just carry the burden and do the job, amazingly.

Timothy: Yes.

Raj: But then finally somebody broke through and said, I’m so sorry, I need help. My husband is stopping alimony; I got evicted from the apartment. The kids and I have been living in our car now for a week. I just need help. The CEO saw that, and he just felt a deep sense of shame. And he had tears. What kind of company am I running where a mother who is homeless can’t even tell us for a week? So, they helped her, of course, and then the word got out. Flood gates opened and so much other suffering came out. So, all this suffering is silent, and when it’s available for us to see and we can bear witness to it, then from that, that’s when some of the most loving action actually arises.

Timothy: Yes. Yes.

Raj: So they had these programs. And over time their annual turnover went from 118% down to about 16%. They did other things to improve their lives. And I think that’s a universal thing that we have to know. Principle is everybody matches; everybody needs to win. And if there’s a group of people our company is interacting with, whether they’re employees or customers who are not winning and those who are not benefiting meaningfully and not thriving, then we have to go back to the drawing board. Somebody is losing; we are not done. I think that story is probably the most universal story in the book.

Timothy: Yes. Yes.

Raj: And coming out of this pandemic, we have to have a deep commitment to all the people, not just some of the people in the country.

Timothy: I love that point. Michael Sandel’s just written a book about meritocracy and work. And I just listened to him speak last week. And he really says a lot of what we’ve lost is the of work. We’ve become very focused on the elites, very focused. And in that process, we’ve almost denigrated the dignity of work. And I think that one of the things that comes out of this coronavirus issue that’s a positive is the recognition of how much of the essential work and how interdependent we are on the nurses and the nurses aides and the delivery people and the people who are willing to go work in a grocery store or understanding the supply chain that reaches into another country and then when things are bad in a place in a certain city in China, then we are going to have shortages of things here. And that interdependence, one, and then, two, the dignity of work that we are so dependent on someone like a trash hauler to come by on a regular basis. When we’re in lockdown, we still generate trash. And these people go out and find a way of getting to work and then working when everybody else is in this shutdown and lockdown mode. And I think that really is brought home to a lot of people that these essential workers are really important.

Raj: It’s about respect and dignity. And I said they’re stoic and heroic. That work is a lot harder than what you and I do. And they’re paid much less. And so we are respecting them and treating them well. And, of course, not just having this, moving towards this living wage idea. All of that, I think, is essential moving forward. I think we are now open to fresh thinking and more not incremental change, but a substantive change coming on.

Timothy: Yes. And I think that it’s been re-enforced. I think there’s two things that are really re-enforced that I’ve been following. One is the financial times created a list at the beginning of the pandemic of saints and sinners. And when the Financial Times starts putting out a list and your company is on the sinners list, you sort of go and say, how do I feel working for this company? We’re in the top 10 sinners. Boy, am I proud, you know? Let alone how I feel working about it because there’s a lot of reasons why 10. And I thought the other group, Just Capital, did a great job and has continued to do a great job of tracking people’s responses – who’s offering extended health insurance, who’s out there giving more time off and extending their sickness benefits and leave times. I think that’s really started to show that there’s much more transparency about how you are treating your people, particularly during this time. And people are going to remember. How did my company show up? Did we go straight to layoffs? Or did we look at pay cuts across the board? Did we look at early retirement and hiring freezes as ways of avoiding moving to layoffs? Did we do all of that first?

So I think ultimately people are going to be asking coming out of this, how did my company show up? And they’re going to remember.


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