An appeal … for saving our reputation

This is an extraordinary time in our history, and we need to see government & businesses perform at their best. 

Until Saturday, 14th March things did not seem as difficult. But as the first death in India was reported it dawned upon many that there was worse coming. Several nations and their leaders, both in business and politics have taken drastic measures to deal with these desperate times.

It is surprising that not a single business leader has inspired the confidence of stakeholders by going public by announcing mandatory work from home in order to reduce the burden on society at large with the sheer number of commuters who could potentially come in contact with the deadly corona virus. We need to step up and do the heavy lifting now before it gets cumbersome. We need to Break The Chain. 

Are leaders equipped to contain the damage that stems from inaction? Are leader’s communicating through a transparent channel with multiple stakeholders? Is it just financial risk we are staring at or much more? Every chief executive also doubles up as the Chief Reputation Officer of the organisation. There maybe a professional who manages communications and therefore is considered the reputation custodian because corporate behaviour is closely linked to reputation and various modes of communication are deployed to portray this.

Therefore, it is imperative today for corporate leaders, especially in the three major metros and very specifically of Indian companies headquartered primarily in Bangalore, Mumbai and the National Capital Region to lead by examples and take the numerous cues. A domino effect needs to take place. Collectively, choose to let all employees work remotely, ideally from their homes for 7 to 10 days. It will certainly help healthcare workers and the government be less burdened. 

Yes, there are a few categories of professionals who will be indispensable during this period and will need to support the ecosystem without much of an option of staying out. These include healthcare, pharmacy and hospitality professionals; staff at grocery stores; private security guards and law enforcement officials; call centre employees especially supporting insurance and travel clients; some transportation providers who will help move the above-mentioned professionals. Other than these most others in the services and manufacturing sector will have to stay at home and wherever possible work in the best way possible. A total shutdown of the major cities is a need of the hour. 

To those of you who are not on Twitter, please embrace this medium for a few days so you use that channel to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. To those of you who prefer other social networks, please free to opt for one of them and let your people know. Silence and taking no action are no longer an option. Think of this a testing time and a simulation for something worse that may come our way in the future. Because the sacrifices we make today as a nation will go a long way in taking us to the heights we are cut out for. 

Take this as a humble appeal from an ordinary citizen and please act. I remain grateful in anticipation.

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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

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