Fast forward and everything seems so much more complex. Rules. Personal relationships. Running businesses and non-profits. And the likelihood of suffering foot-in-mouth disease.
Why the change? We’re older (though not necessarily wiser). Society believes the worst of everyone (often with good reason). The world is so interconnected and moving so fast that errors are amplified.
Think of how angry Congress — not to mention the public — was with hollow excuses offered by the CEOs of Wells Fargo and the maker of the EpiPen as they tried to justify their roles in scandals.
It happens to all of us and the possibilities are almost endless. The question is: When it happens, are you prepared to do everything you can to fix it?
You’re the target of a lawsuit. A former employee accuses you of fostering a hostile work environment, or a counselor at your non-profit’s summer camp is accused of molesting a student. Money goes missing from the till. Your company is caught up in a recall of contaminated food or potentially dangerous products.
Was the problem like an iceberg, a danger lurking hidden beneath the surface until it’s too late? Was it a slow-simmering issue that you were vaguely aware of, but put off dealing with until it boiled over? Or were you completely in the dark?
The distinction isn’t academic. The legal implications and liability are enormous. So is the impact on your reputation.
True accidents are forgivable. Not paying close enough attention is problematic. But the public has no tolerance for reckless disregard — especially not when its well-being is at stake. The latter was on embarrassing display with news that Yahoo knew years ago that confidential of more than 500 million users was breached — but Yahoo didn’t inform the public until this week.
The lesson: Murphy’s Law is true, and the world moves quickly. So you better get your act together fast and be prepared. Don’t leave people thinking, “That’s the best you could come up with?” It’ll give you the reputation of not caring enough about those who are affected.
“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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