The world confronts vast uncertainty, from unrest in the social climate to accelerating shifts in the climate itself. The economy faces huge challenges, from public-debt crises in Europe to the overhang of mortgage debt in the United States. The business community faces an ongoing series of stops and starts, from the loss of an icon like Steve Jobs to the rise of new-economy giants like Amazon and Facebook.
There is a temptation, amidst the turmoil, for pundits to conclude that the only sensible response is to make bold bets—new business models that challenge the logic of an industry, products that aim to be “category killers” and obsolete the competition. But I’ve come to believe that a better way to respond to uncertainty is with small gestures that send big signals about what you care about and stand for. In a world defined by crisis, acts of generosity and reassurance take on outsized importance.
That’s why, on my HBR blog, I devote my new post to the virtues of the “values proposition”—and the power, in the words of Mother Teresa, of “doing small things with great love.” You can read the full post here.