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Lessons From The Extraordinary Corporate Compassion of Brian Chesky

I think we can all agree that the pressure is at our doorsteps, and the struggle is real. COVID-19 has companies faced with the seemingly impossible task of protecting its employees while preserving the institution. This can be no more evident than in the layoffs happening in almost every sector around the world in a very public way. News today travels faster than ever, which increases transparency and scrutiny.

Even though this isn’t a marketing campaign, we can apply a universal best practice to the content. CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE AND WHAT THEY NEED. Don’t let rushed planning and poor execution be the reason you appear on the front page. While some industries are being hit harder than others, it’s how things are handled in the worst of situations that reflect the attitude of leadership and the corporate culture they perpetuate.

Once you’ve sorted out the back office budget projections against future production models, put it to the side to address the human element. Based on the stories that have hit the news (both GOOD and BAD), there are 3 key elements you need to deliver bad news successfully. 

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Transparency

This morning I was clearing out my email over a cup of coffee and saw an article about a message from Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky of Airbnb that was sent to his entire company on May 5th, 2020. I encourage you to stop and read it. Understanding that each of our companies is different, look less at the magnitude of his offering and more at the points from which he tried to have an impact. 1704 corporately written words have never had just an emotional impact on me from an organization that I have no affiliation. He does an extraordinary job of addressing all the elements surrounding the announcement:

  • Current State
  • Future State
  • How Decisions Were Made
  • How Those Impacted Will Be Supported
  • How The Remaining Will Move Forward
  • Sincere Apology

Brands built by leaders that exhibit this level of care and transparency are a rare breed and provide an incredible example for all of us to level up. Their organizations may be feeling the pinch today, but will likely thrive on the other side of the chaos caused by the pandemic.

Brian Chesky, Thank you, and good luck.

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