This article was written by Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP

It has now been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. These past 12 months have been unlike any in our lifetimes—bringing immeasurable heartache and hardship to so many, while changing virtually every aspect of our lives. 

The pandemic has also taught us a number of important lessons. For me, some of those lessons are about what it means to be a CEO and the role that businesses can—and should—play in our society. I wanted to take a moment to share a few of them here in the hopes they might help other companies and business leaders navigate this moment—and the road ahead.   

Being a leader means showing our humanity. The most important responsibility I’ve had as CEO over the past year has been protecting our employees and making sure we do everything possible to keep them and their families healthy and safe. It’s been equally important to listen, understand the unique challenges people are going through, and support one another however we can. Now, more than ever, leadership is about making sure our colleagues know we see them, we’re standing with them, and we’re all in this together. And that won’t change when the pandemic ends. Empathy is a core competency of leadership. 

Adversity can drive innovation. Throughout history, challenging times have been catalysts for ingenuity and innovation, and this year has been no different. Just look at the scientists, researchers, and companies who have developed not one or two, but at least three vaccines in record time.

In our case, I’m proud of the way HP teams around the world have stepped forward to create and launch new technologies—from using 3D printing to produce urgently needed medical supplies, to developing solutions that enable people to work and learn from a distance. We have also embraced new business models so that we’re delivering more of the experiences our customers are looking for. And we have invested to build new capabilities that will allow us to create entirely new businesses that meet the needs of a changing world. This is a truly unique opportunity to reimagine and reinvent the future of our companies—and we must seize it. 

It’s not just about the products you make—it’s about the progress you make possible. The companies that succeed in the years ahead will be those that not only deliver great products and services, but also reflect strong values. This year has reaffirmed the important role that businesses must play in our society, from combatting systemic inequities, to taking action in the face of a changing climate. At HP, we are committed to using our platform—as I would urge others to use theirs—in service of humanity. And let’s be clear: this isn’t just a matter of right and wrong, but also one of dollars and cents. In each of the past two years, our Sustainable Impact programs allowed us to win more than $1 billion in new business.

Beyond ending the COVID-19 pandemic, major challenges lie ahead, from tackling climate change to upholding human rights to making digital equity a reality. Yet, I remain optimistic about the future and have no doubt our best days are ahead of us. Because I have seen the strength and resilience of our company, and so many others, as we’ve adapted to new ways of working while managing remote learning for our children and caring for loved ones at the same time. And if we can harness that same strength and resilience and learn the right lessons from this experience, I believe we will emerge from this period stronger than ever before, and chart a new and better path to prosperity for our companies and societies over the coming years and beyond.

Source: LinkedIn