“The truly good and wise...will always act
in the noblest manner that circumstances will allow.”
- Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 340 BC
It’s easy (or, at least, easier) to do the right thing when we are operating from a position of strength. That is not where we stand today. In a crisis, the temptation is to narrow our circle of concern, to think only about what’s best for us. Thinking this way might even seem prudent. And yet we also know that taking a wider view, asking what others need, is most crucial during challenging times. As long as our countries and economies remain locked down, there is an opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves by serving their stakeholders and executing their Social Purpose. Now is when it is most needed, most valuable, and most worthy of recognition.
This special issue of Social Purpose Foresight recognizes companies and CEOs who are showing wisdom in leadership. The costs of the pandemic will be substantial no matter what we do. The individuals and organizations we highlight here have chosen to increase their burden. They offer genuine assistance not only where it is needed, but commensurate with their ability to offer it. No tokenism. No hands forced by legislation. Perhaps they recognize that their very capacity to help now is a by-product of the success they achieved through the effort and support of the employees and societies that make all enterprise possible. By showing wise leadership, by rising to the biggest challenge of the day, they are owning their Social Purpose.
Rising up in a crisis is not just about doing the right thing, it is a chance to build trust and loyalty within your stakeholder network.
The companies that stand out are those with the courage to do what is right and what is wise.