Many companies are suddenly crafting statements that denounce racism and affirm their commitment to equality and inclusion. Such proclamations are easy to do, but writing about your values or posting them on a wall is a far cry from actually living them.
Values need to become a foundation for other actions throughout the company and must be brought to life for all those who work there. Watch for signs of how the values are made real: with strategy alignment, hiring decisions, budget allocations, time spent, transparent information sharing, vulnerability, rewards, priorities, promotions and in the stories that are shared.
Even if you are not in management directly, everyone who works in an organization has the ability to make the values real – or to call out those who disregard them. The undersecretary of defense who publicly submitted his resignation or the employees at Facebook who are resigning have taken drastic steps to highlight the misalignment of values, but there are smaller steps everyone can take to challenge the gap between what is said and what is done.
You don’t always have to pick up a sign and protest in the street to make a difference. Sometimes, what is needed most is for you to speak up in your own organization first.