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Why courage counts


At Pfizer, courage is central to the way that we work. In fact, it’s one of our values. Far from an abstract concept or goal that we aspire to, courage is a mantra that we hold ourselves to every day across our business, wherever we are in the world, and whatever our role.

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But what exactly do we mean by courage? It means that we “Think big, speak up, be decisive.” When we channel our courage to behave in that way, we’re able to make bold moves towards our purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. Our current health crisis shows that unexpected challenges arise in all aspects of life. We all face obstacles, at home and at work. Taking on those challenges, taking action and accountability, and maintaining integrity are all ways that we demonstrate courage.

Yes, courage enables us as a business and as leader in healthcare, but we also recognize how empowering it is for our people to realize their own courage. Some of that is simply about perception. Most people have some areas of work – and of life – where they feel less confident than others. When they work to overcome these challenges, it can feel intimidating and even instill fear. But when people internalize and identify that feeling as courage rather than fear, a huge shift in confidence and sense of self takes place. In other words, just the belief that you are being courageous can help you to overcome challenges.

Of course, the things that trigger people to need courage are different for everyone. It could be the courage to share a new idea, to have a difficult conversation, to present to hundreds of people. We articulated courage as one of our values because we know, while it is different for everyone, it is important for everyone. Like leadership, courage should not be hierarchical. We all have it within us to show courage, we just need the right support and environment to do so.

Consider any great achievement. It probably required courage. As coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread, we are committed to enhancing public health and safety, including developing a vaccine - courage has never felt so vital or meaningful. But whatever your business, never underestimate the powerful driving force that your own courage can be.