Rules to Live By

Go public or lay low? Miscalculation is costly.

Go public or lay low?
Miscalculation is costly.

Yoda had one: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

So did Kermit the Frog: “Life’s like a movie. Write your own ending.”

Embrace them, and they set the tone for who you are and what you do.

Life has many guiding principles. Pick the ones that challenge your abilities the most and stick to ’em. You’ll excel, and your clients will benefit.

For Reputation Management: Winning is everything. But getting there is rarely a straight line. Finesse counts for a lot.

First, you must define what you really want to achieve and identify the obstacles. Some will be obvious, others less so.

For some clients, this process is difficult. Emotions get in the way. It’s hard to believe that an employee who’s been so loyal for so long has strayed. It may be even harder to seek restitution, let alone retribution.

But those feelings can be quickly overcome if large sums have been misused or gone missing. Especially if you’re on the Board, and it happened on your watch. You’re liable.

Conversely, when it’s a personal matter, anger and a sense of betrayal may run so deep that they  obscure strategies relying on subtlety rather than confrontation.

Not until you get past this does the path forward become clear. Is someone being fired? Were crimes committed? Will authorities become involved (the police or — if you’re a non-profit — the state attorney general)? Will you file a civil suit to recover losses?

This is where you roll the dice.

Do you go public immediately? Or wait and hope it will pass unnoticed?

The best test: It’s a matter of scale. Are you prominent (as an individual or organization)? Are you a non-profit (because they’re expected to be squeaky clean and bad things aren’t supposed to happen)? If either, it’s unlikely to stay secret.

The greatest danger is miscalculating. If you say nothing and it becomes public, it looks like you’re guilty of a cover-up. That’s never a positive.


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.

For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

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