How to Lead in a Crisis

Hint: Speak to your employees’ and customers’ top values.

May 18, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—To help CEOs and leaders navigate the pandemic effectively and successfully, David Allison, author and human behavior expert, recently shared insights from the Valuegraphics Database with CEO World Magazine. One of the top values, no matter the geographical location? Togetherness and the desire to be with each other.

Allison was a featured speaker at the NACS Leadership Forum in February where he identified the four common values of consumers who shop the convenience retail channel.

The Valuegraphics Database takes results from half a million surveys in 180 countries that map what people care about and how those personal values differ from group to group to show companies what their employees and customers care about most.

From the surveys, Allison said, “a lesson we’ve learned and seen play out time and again is this: What we value determines what we do.”

Health and wellbeing are the most-cited values in the U.S., followed by personal growth and the ability to meet basic needs.

“If you are a leader in politics, business, or the nonprofit sector, leveraging the importance Americans place on health and wellbeing is your most powerful tool to change behaviors,” Allison said. “Announcing a change in HR policy to your workforce, for example, will be well-received if the benefits to employee health and wellbeing are obvious for all to see.”

The value of “meeting basic needs” varies for everyone, but things like hardship loans for groceries and rent go a long way to ensure employees are stable and feel taken care of.

The way companies communicate about the pandemic and offer more flexible options, like work from home for example, can increase success. Speaking directly to the values of employees and customers will help leaders to be seen as loyal, caring and kind. By speaking to several values at once, leaders can instill confidence and bring a deeper connection into teams to push them along on the path to success. 

Hear more from Allison in Episode 209, “Values Matter, Demographics Don’t,” of the Convenience Matters podcast.