Measure Twice. Cut Once.

With PR, making an error doesn’t mean you simply toss the lumber away and get a new piece.
Time is a luxury. Room for error is nonexistent.
Photo courtesy of

“Measure twice. Cut once.” It’s an old carpenter’s rule — a simple way to avoid doing extra work and wasting materials. All professions should have similar rules. Hopefully they do.

Crisis & Reputation Management is no different. But the stakes are often higher. Making an error doesn’t mean you simply need to saw the wood again, or toss the lumber away and get a new piece. A single misstep in a sensitive PR situation — a wrong word or an inappropriate action — can derail a reputation or destroy a company.

It also can disrupt political careers, such as when two Republican candidates for U.S. Senate — one from Missouri, one from Indiana — waded clumsily into the issue of rape and pregnancy. The ripples spread far beyond their own campaigns and were felt at the top of their ticket by Mitt Romney. Certainly, other factors also weighed on the outcome. But ultimately, all three men lost the election.

Sadly, this can create an undesirable tendency in politics: Saying or doing nothing that might create controversy. In short, becoming a cipher who stands for nothing.

In Crisis & Reputation management, avoidance is not an option. Confronted with a problem? You must deal with it head-on, quickly and with certainty. Time is a luxury — you rarely have much, never enough. Room for error is nonexistent.

Which brings us back to where we started: “Measure twice. Cut once.”


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that specializes in high-stakes Crisis & Reputation Management. If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog Insights on High-Stakes PR. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.



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