In an interview on Channel 4 News on 11 November, touching on topics from climate change to the pandemic, the Dalai Lama contrasted altruism and the benefits it brings with the problems we face as a result of selfish thinking. He stressed that a self-centered attitude creates more fear, doubt and anger. We don’t have to look too far to see very disquieting examples of that attitude.
While it is no surprise that the Dalai Lama advocates altruism and unity in humanity, it is perhaps more surprising that companies are reaching out with empathy, generosity and innovation to help the community, in spite of the unrelenting competitive pressure they face. Stephanie Dismore believes that “brands and individuals will be remembered for the actions they take right now, long after this crisis subsides.”
Charlotte Wiseman in her excellent article below sees a sea change in the workplace with people reconsidering their values. Wiseman notes a shift to more altruistic values leading to an assessment by people of whether their work has “a meaningful, positive impact on society.” Wiseman stresses the importance of values in times of uncertainty - “When we don’t know what’s coming next or what the next ‘right’ decision is, explaining our decisions in relation to our values, our WHY, gives our teams and employees a sense of safety and justice.”
In times of change and uncertainty, our values act as a guidepost that offer resilience, clarity of thought and intrinsic motivation, thus mitigating the potentially damaging effects of stress and enabling us to optimise performance and innovation.