McDonalds new Chief Executive, Steve Easterbrook is already on the defensive as he battles to pull the chain out of a financial slump in dating back to 2014 which saw profits and revenues fall due to longer service times and competitors taking advantage of healthier consumer options. Thousands of protestors swarmed McDonald's headquarters in a two day rally to ask for pay hikes and better working conditions for the 650,000 McDonalds workers.

Chicago Teachers Union vice-president Jesse Sharkey called on McDonald’s to "stop pretending to support values for the public good while simultaneously undermining those policies with its political contributions." 

While Mr Easterbrook recently announced plans to raise pay for some 90,000 workers in company-run restaurants, Mr Sharkey said the company "simultaneously undermines efforts to raise the minimum wage across the country with large support through the National Restaurant Association (NRA)," a deep-pocketed industry group that lobbies against such increases as well as food policy changes.

"McDonald’s is exposing its share owners and business to significant reputational risks by continuing to say one thing and do another," Mr Sharkey said.

One of 5Cs studied by the Values Institute is candor--the truthful, transparent communications that says "we have nothing to hide,""our behavior matches our messaging." Without it, employees and customers begin to question motives, become suspicious and lose motivation.  In the case of McDonalds, public statements that don't match behavior for any reason erode trust internally and externally.  In an age where what you stand for corporately is as important if not more that what you sell, candor, during times of trial, separate those who can survive the storm and those who end up shipwrecked. Think about it the next time your organization faces it's next trial.