The demonstrations against social injustices have sparked attention and controversy across the globe. If you’re like me, you’re feeling like you should be doing something; saying something; offering something.
Many companies have done the same. From Nike to Amazon to the NFL, some of these statements ring true. Others fall flat. What’s the difference? Sincerity, authenticity, concrete ideas that promote change and, most of all whether the company has any business jumping into the fray.
While silence on racial equality has kept it going, inauthentic attempts to hop onto this just because its trending are useless. You’re talking to hear yourself talk. You’re using social injustice to make your company look good. That’s not good. That’s not helpful.
Before your company decides to make a statement about this troubling issue, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the statement ring true based on your company’s past performance or involvement with the issue?
- Can you demonstrate that you’ve taken these issues seriously in the past?
- Can you offer some constructive and concrete ways to move forward?
- Are you willing to put resources, time and energy into a solution that goes beyond talking about how terrible the situation is?
- If you said nothing, will your customers be surprised or think of you as insensitive?
- Could anyone say what your statement does?
- Is your statement really better than saying nothing at all?
If the answers questions 1 through 5 are yes, then, by all means, state your concerns and offer some practical ways to move forward
If you answered no to these questions, keep your mouth shut.
Camping on an issue that’s this important does nothing to foster change. It’s the equivalent of adding your “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting. If you’re going to speak up, then be prepared to do something. If you’re just interested in looking woke, save your words.
A version of this post appeared in the Hartford Business Journal