The Real COVID-19 Test

Every day on the news, there are stories about the development of faster COVID-19 rapid tests… We’re looking for ways to more quickly diagnose whether people have COVID-19 and if they’ve developed antibodies to the virus. At the same time, there’s another COVID-19 test that we should all pay close attention to in our businesses and even our personal lives…

The real test we should be paying attention to right now has to do with our core values. Yes, we’re circling back to core values again – they are a topic you’ve heard us talk about many times in past Insights blogs. Our core values are the principles that guide our decision-making, and the foundation of our cultures. And right now, those principles are being tested in dramatic ways.

As we’ve made pivots in the way we do business and live our lives, the changes we’ve made have created new pressures. And under the weight of those pressures, the core values we’ve put on our walls and in our websites have taken on new importance.

They’re more than words.

Now, they’re the foundation of all we do, and we’re being forced to make decisions every day where we have to choose– will we stay true to our core values, or bend them ever so slightly to ease the pressures we’re facing? That’s a heavy question to ask.

It’s coming to the surface in many ways. We’re asking our teams to work from home, and to turn the spaces where they live into offices as well. When we do come together, we’re navigating masked-up, sanitizer-lathered, “What’s your temp today?” environments. Some people feel comfortable meeting in-person; others are more guarded and apprehensive. The finances that drive our organizations are evolving and shifting, and things that worked well in January are no longer viable. We’re trying to replace in-person relationship building with digital Zooms and video chats.

And that, our friends, is where the real COVID-19 test plays itself out.

As we’re standing on this pandemic’s shifting sand, we have to grasp tighter to those core values that we upheld pre-virus. Some of them might have been easy to hold up back in January, and remain easy to stand behind today. Other values and principles may have seemed uncomplicated and painless when the year began, and now they require us to step up at a new level for our people and our customers… possibly an uncomfortable level.

Today represents an opportunity for all of us to reevaluate our core values through a unique lens. When it hits the fan, what sticks? We’ve had so many conversations about how this pandemic has changed our outlooks and what is important to us as organizations and humans. Now is a perfect time, amid these pressures and challenges, to rethink and reassess those core values we walk past every day. Are they still fitting, are they still viable, are they still good? Do they still deserve our attention, or have we come to realize that things we never considered are now significant?


Eventually, we’ll have all the rapid and antibody tests we need, and there will even be a vaccine to keep this virus at bay. The real test we all need to look at today is how we’re keeping our core values on the pedestal they deserve – not changing who we claim to be as organizations and caving under the pressure of COVID-19. What was good and right in January is still good and right today – we don’t need a test to know that.

Now is the time for us to check back in, making sure our core values are still really core to who we are. This is valuable work we’re investing time into as leaders this Friday… When will you make time to do the same?

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