On our flights back from Maui recently, my husband and I wiped our airplane tray tables and seats down completely to kill “THE” virus … or so I thought. As I touched the button to raise the arm rest, I realized I hadn’t wiped down that particular little button.  How many people had touched/infected that button in the last few days?  Shoot.  I thought I was being so darn consistent and thorough.

When we returned home, I vowed to do my best to consistently maintain a Covid-19-free home.  Then my husband would come home from work and forget to wash his hands before touching 4 door knobs.  I’d start the sanitizing all over again … and realize that I forgot to wash off the handle of the refrigerator door yesterday … oh, and the lid on the wash machine that I touched five times.  So much for being consistent.  And, considering “CONSISTENCY” is my “word of the year” for 2020, I wasn’t exactly being the poster child.

My small moments of carelessness and inconsistency — missing a few door knobs or not wanting to spend time to sanitize each piece of fruit — could spell disaster.  I claim to be dedicated to my core value of consistency, but am I REALLY?

Several days into our quarantine I’ve finally made a habit of wiping down ALL surfaces we touch.  Social distancing, while not pleasant, has become the norm …because it’s IMPORTANT, a “core value” in the fight against the pandemic.

Since we seem to be looking at most things through the lens of contagion right now, let’s think about how important consistency is with our corporate values.  You say your company values “PEOPLE FIRST,” “INNOVATION,” and “CUSTOMER FOCUS.”  Wonderful.

What if the receptionist at your front desk has a careless moment and decides she doesn’t feel like smiling at the outside salesperson who checked in for his meeting?  That salesperson, as it turns out, really needed and expected that warm greeting, and when he didn’t get it, he made an immediate negative judgement about your whole company, a judgement he’ll share with his friends and co-workers.  And they’ll tell their friends.  It’ll be contagious.

Your CEO is usually pretty good about checking in with each team on a weekly basis and giving encouragement and praise, but she feels she’s been too busy lately and must spend her time on something other than “just making personal connections” for a few weeks. That may be the exact time a team member decides that he will, after all, accept that job offer from the competitor across town.

Or, what about the kitchen staff who decides that yesterday’s parsley as a garnish will simply have to do, even though it’s wilted and a bit brown?  The new customer who is turned off by that decision decides not to come back to a restaurant that can’t even make a meal look nice–and he posts a pic on Instagram as evidence.

How consistent are YOU and your ENTIRE team about your core values?  Are you a “wipe down most areas, but maybe miss a few spots” kind of company, or are you a company that TAKES THE TIME AND ENERGY to be consistently consistent about the things that matter?  Now’s the time to do a behavior check and be sure your whole team is on board with the things that REALLY MATTER!  Don’t let little slip-ups pass; they’re contagious.

The good news is that CARING is contagious, too, so let that be the core value your team sees from you as you work together to keep your company healthy.