This is especially true for those who deal with situations that are critical and fluid. Bet-the-farm litigators. Executives whose companies are under investigation. Board members whose organizations are in turmoil. And the Crisis Management strategists who counsel them.
When things go sideways, they’re expected to be there and fix it. Immediately. Crises are no respecters of clocks or calendars (or, for that matter, of personal lives).
A recent workweek seemed to wrap up early. All pending projects were finished by Thursday, and nothing was on the horizon. So Eden flew off to Michigan for a long weekend, and Roger went to a nearby city to pay last respects to a college friend from long ago.
As he drove in the funeral procession from the Mass to the cemetery, his cell phone rang.
“We have an emergency. Are you free now? Can you talk?” the client asked, anxiously.
“Of course,” Roger said calmly. “Tell me everything you can. I only have about 10 minutes now, then off the grid for about an hour. I’ll explain why later.”
The client explained what had happened. The situation was ugly, about to get worse, and breaking fast. Roger quickly called Eden and told her to stand by.
An hour later, in the shade of a tree in the cemetery, he set up a conference call with Eden and company’s general counsel. Together they teased out the relevant details and spent the weekend developing and implementing a strategy: What needed to be said — and not said? By whom? In what forum(s)? Should the company be proactive in sharing the information — or should it be reactive and share it only if asked?
It’s what Type A personalities live for: The adrenaline rush of the challenge and the satisfaction of solving an intricate puzzle with many moving parts. If you put the pieces together perfectly, they fit. But one wrong move or wrong word, and the whole thing can fall apart.
To paraphrase 20th century American poet E. E. Cummings, This is the way it all ends, not with a whimper but with a bang.
“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.
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