The highest priority, greatest threat and most crucial aspect of managing crises is the victim dimension. Victims provide the explosive emotional drive that results in high visibility, high liability and high anxiety. The reality is most organizations, hospitals, schools and universities do a sloppy, insensitive or timid job of dealing with victims. This can be very costly to your reputation.
The five most powerful positive words/phrases in any language or culture are…
Probably the most important lesson I ever learned, years ago, about urgent and crisis situations was that whatever the nature of problem, it very likely had happened to someone else before it has or would happen to me.
This is one of my favorite tools for discussing serious problems with management. It is simply a side-by-side comparison of the assumptions we make about a given situation, and the realities of that situation in the words of victims, employees, critics and those indirectly affected.
On March 29, Samsung Electronics Co. will unveil its new Galaxy S8 phone. When you release a new product, you want to show off its cool new features. But Samsung’s launch stands to be overshadowed by not one but two reputational fires the company is fighting simultaneously.
Featured in the January edition of Minnesota PRSA Perspectives Blog
When giving opinions to senior management some middle managers and most front-line workers tend to give advice without thinking about how to craft it so that decision-makers will be receptive to it. That can doom a good idea to oblivion.
One thing about crisis management and leadership in difficult situations has remained the same throughout my career and that is the glacial speed at which litigation unfolds. Understand that my clients are always defendants (perpetrators). In today’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and “the new social media app being introduced next week” age, there are dramatic new pressures on lawyers, defendants and perpetrators to get more explained and done faster.
Wells Fargo took another meaningless step to avoiding their clear responsibility to clean up the mess they created, involving hundreds of thousands (perhaps even more now) of their customers. They separated the chairman and CEO posts, a gesture which is simply beyond understanding. It reflects again, their misguided focus on fixing operations without paying the price of fraud, deceit and despicable behavior toward their customers.
Tim Sloan, the former president and chief operating officer of Wells Fargo, now the new CEO and member of the bank’s board of directors, assures us that the cover-up continues. “You should expect more tough headlines, as additional accountability actions occur and other investigations and reviews are completed,” he said. But efforts to actually remedy the thousands, perhaps millions, of customer-facing problems Wells Fargo has caused, and is likely still causing, are stalled. Many may never really be resolved.
The First and Most Important Axiom of Crisis Survival:
Neither the media, your toughest opponents, smartest critics, nor the government knows enough to defeat you. Defeat is almost always the work of uninformed or over confident, overly optimistic bosses, co-workers and associates; well-meaning but uninformed friends, relatives, or from dysfunction in an organization.