Just Do It

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

16 May 2019

Our values are an essential part of our personalities. Because that’s true, they define our social networks in some ways. For example, if you’re an introvert, you’ll likely have several friends who favor solitude and low profiles. Even though our values can change or evolve over time, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint things that are important to us and keep us ticking. But how about when it comes to company values? Are those as easy to define?

O’Brien Communications (OCG) is a small business. Our values are relatively easy to identify. That might have to do with the fact that there are only two decision-makers on staff, who share a lot of the same personal values. A few of the phrases that capture our core values are: “People first” (which includes family). “Rule #1: If we’re not having fun, we’re doing it wrong.” And this: “There’s a difference between doing the right thing and doing right things.”

Since the day I joined OCG, I noticed a major difference between small business and large corporations. The large corporations I’ve worked for put profits over people and procedures over logic. And when it came to accountability, the buck was passed regularly. With so many people to pass the blame onto, it was difficult to figure out the source of many problems.

Do the Right Thing

Nike recently made the decision to withhold sponsorship money from female athletes who get pregnant. While I can’t admit to being shocked at the decision, I am a bit outraged. Sure, Nike isn’t required to provide their athletes with sponsorship money at all. But they do. So, what reason other than profit motive would they have for withholding sponsorships from female athletes who don’t retire but who take time away from competition to gestate, birth, and nurture their babies?

I’m sure if you asked a few of Nike’s decision-makers about the issue, they’d be publicly sympathetic. But there’s no logical way to explain two sets of rules in which (1) Nike celebrates one athlete in the ostensible interest of social justice (and hopes of making a buck) and (2) turns its back on an entire category of athletes — female (in hopes of saving a buck). Seems like Nike has some issues of philosophical consistency to handle.

My small company is not required by law to give me any time off for maternity leave. But I’m thankful my company’s values are not aligned with Nike’s. “People first” ensured I was paid for six weeks to bond with each of my children, and my job was right where I left it when that time came to an end.

People over Profits … Just Do It!