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COO Corner: Navigating Global Events with Purpose

In years past, our country – and the world – have faced a relentless stream of issues, from racial justice and women’s rights to COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and terrorism in Israel. As a business owner, I’ve often found myself navigating my emotions and personal connection to these global events while working to uphold the professional responsibility to lead my team with integrity. Navigating these issues can be overwhelming, especially as consumers demand companies take a stance on critical matters. Accenture’s recent study emphasizes this demand, revealing that 62% of consumers want companies to speak out on issues close to their hearts. When debating whether to release a statement, here are some of the things that guide me:

Understanding Core Values:

In this era of heightened scrutiny, a company’s core values serve as the foundation for every decision that is made, and leaders must recognize that identifying and holding to those values is key. At All Points Public Relations, we know ourselves. We believe in actively contributing to positive change and steer clear of fueling anger or adding to the “noise.” We lead with purpose and seek to contribute to enhancing our community.

Assessing Risk:

For small businesses like ours, the stakes are high when putting statements out. The risk of alienating or offending clients and staff is a concern. I understand that when taking a stance, I’m speaking not just for myself but for my entire reputation, business and our 40+ person team.

Consider Timing:

Timing is crucial when making a statement. Not waiting too long is essential, but I also acknowledge that timing can expose our staff to potential backlash. A careful evaluation of when to speak out and when to observe is vital, ensuring that the timing of statements maximizes impact and aligns with the broader narrative.

Vetting Sources – Supporting Facts, Not Just Opinions:

In a world inundated with information, leaders must prioritize the vetting of sources and rely on verified facts rather than opinions. Our commitment to grounded, well-researched information at All Points Public Relations not only ensures our statements are credible but also contributes to informed discourse, separating us from the noise of misinformation.

Understanding the Relationship Between Statements and Action:

The power of a statement lies not only in its words but in the positive impact it generates. That’s why we strive to make statements that go beyond words and take action. At All Points, we believe in making statements that contribute to a positive and informed public discourse, actively fostering change rather than adding to it. Over the last 13 years, we have made a conservative effort to do just that. For example, last year, our team dedicated a day to exploring Chicago’s Ukrainian Museum, delving into the country’s rich history and the implications of Russia’s invasion. Additionally, we’ve packed meals through Feed My Starving Children to end hunger around the world.

By embracing these principles – understanding core values, assessing risk and timing, vetting sources, and acknowledging the potential impact of statements – businesses can not only weather the storm of global events but emerge as beacons of responsible stewardship. At All Points Public Relations, this is the standard we aspire to achieve. While the unfolding of global events poses ongoing challenges, we hope to consistently set and embody these ideals.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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