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Thought Leadership-Crisis Articles

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over: The Perils Of Declaring Victory In Crisis Too Soon

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, July 20, 2021

Its-not-over-Forbes

Covid Crisis Rule #7: It is not over just because you want it to be.

Do you remember that ill-starred speech in the middle of the Iraq War, when President George Bush stood on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, with a banner hung behind him that announced "Mission Accomplished"?

Of course, the mission had not been accomplished. In fact, guerrilla warfare escalated and the vast majority of casualties in the Iraq war occurred after the speech had already been given. The whole affair turned into a huge embarrassment that President Bush later called one of the bigger mistakes of his career.

It turned into a global symbol of the triumph of wishful thinking over the truth. [...read more]

Chaos Rules: 8 Ways To Navigate Through The Fog Of Crisis

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, April 3, 2020

Forbes Chaos Rules 4-1-20

In wartime they call it the fog of war.

In crisis I call it the fog of crisis — but what it really amounts to is chaos.

So as we're surrounded by a deteriorating civic infrastructure and national political response; as our lives and businesses are put on indefinite hold; as working indefinitely from home becomes untenable in many situations and organizations; as family pressures or the pain of isolation mount when we're all sequestered at home; as joblessness careens; as the products we need the most - in hospitals and in our own lives - continue to be unavailable; and as more people get sick and die (this time, who we know) — the result is the fog of the coronavirus crisis.

It's murky, dense and difficult to navigate. And it probably will exceed most of our abilities to cope at one time or another.

Chaos Rules

So, here are 8 ways that might help you get through it... [read more]

Chaos Leadership: When Does Global Crisis Turn Into Chaos And How Do We Survive It?

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, March 27, 2020

Forbes Chaos Leadership 3-27-20

As we balance on the cusp between global crisis and total chaos — and we could make the jump into full-bore chaos at any moment — it is time to explore the difference between the two.

It also is time to talk about how the rules for handling chaos differ substantially from those that govern crisis response. Because if we cling to crisis management rules in order to address chaos, it will be as ineffective as if we treat coronavirus the same way we treat the common cold. [...read more]

Expert Advice From Front-Line Physician On Leadership Needed To Combat COVID-19

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, March 18, 2020

Forbes 3-18-20 Reputation Matters

Earlier this week I wrote about Communicating in Crisis - Building Trust in an Untrustworthy World, and ended with the suggestion that true expertise and expert advice are critical to building trust. But it is almost impossible to sort out the expertise from all the misinformation floating about out there.

So, I asked my own trusted physician, Dr. Jacqueline Jones, one of the country's leading ENT specialists, currently on the front-lines of fighting COVID-19 especially in children, for her expert advice. She shared it, both for patients, and for leaders in business, insurance, and medicine — and it is excellent. I would like to share it with you now. [...read more]

Communicating In Crisis: How To Build Trust In An Untrustworthy World

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, March 4, 2020

3-16-20 Forbes Communicating In Crisis

As we enter the first full week of the global pandemic and crashing financial markets, we are all looking for who to listen to, and who to believe.

We're looking for a trusted voice in the storm to help guide us, one that can steer us toward the truth as it unfolds, and away from lies and misstatements, be they well-meaning or malicious. This is the leaders's task — to provide that "True North" to employees, community, customers, investors, and stakeholders.

But this is an almost impossible task in such a topsy-turvy landscape, where it can be impossible to distinguish sky from ground.

Sequestered — quarantined by choice or fiat, or simply avoiding exposure by working from home — our choices for who to listen to have changed. No more can we comfortably sit across from our boss in a group meeting and use all of our senses to tell whether he or she is telling us the whole truth. Working remotely, half of the sensors we are used to using are missing.

And while we're incredibly lucky to have video and teleconferences, podcasts and webinars, live streaming, virtual chat rooms, and virtual galas, salons, board meetings and policy meetings — still that personal touch is missing, and with it many of the clues we use to determine integrity and truthfulness.

So who do we trust? And how can leaders establish trust? [...read more]

Crisis Leadership In Real Time: 8 Best Practices For Public Healthcare Emergencies

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, March 4, 2020

Forbes 3-4-20

So, it's here. We now have a public healthcare crisis in front of us that is already disrupting global markets, businesses, and lives, and has the potential to do much more damage. Or not, depending upon who you are, and what and who you believe.

Just as with the climate crisis, while the facts are the facts, how we respond to the COVID-19 crisis says more about who we are, and how we lead, than it does about the crisis itself.

So, it's probably a good time to begin recasting more generic crisis management rules into a specific set of rules for our current challenge. Whether the current Coronavirus crisis is ever dubbed a pandemic or not, we surely need to develop some advanced thinking on how to deal with it.

Following is a new set of 8 pandemic 'best practices,' for your consideration. [...read more]

Great Crisis Management is Counter-Intuitive: That's Why Boeing, Wells Fargo Are Getting It So Wrong

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, April 8, 2019

4-8-19 Forbes Reputation Matters

It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, especially for huge companies facing huge problems. But too many companies, like Wells Fargo and Boeing, are getting it all wrong time and time again.

The stakes for their failure – doing the wrong things in crisis and not understanding why – are too high. And consumers, investors, partners, and stakeholders are suffering the consequences. Why the blind spots? Why the inability to get it right when crisis hits?

Why Companies Are Getting Crisis Response So Wrong

The core reason that so many big companies, who should know better, fail in crisis is because the best crisis management is counter-intuitive, sometimes even illogical, and they absolutely do not understand that.

So they listen to the wrong people, consider only partially the impact and ramifications of their actions, ignore emotion or the zeitgeist of the moment, reflexively make the wrong decisions, dig themselves into holes, and then are loathe or incapable of digging themselves out again. [...read more]

When the CEO Has To Go

Davia Temin, Directors & Boards, Fourth Quarter 2018

DandBCEO-Has-To-Go-3

With the explosion of the #MeToo Movement, CEOs – like other executives – are being accused of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior more than ever before. And after an investigation, if found guilty, more are being shown the door.

Our Temin "#MeToo Index," which has cataloged all of the serious allegations since December, 2015 (when Bill Cosby was first arrested), has logged accusations against 32 public company CEOs or presidents, and 18 nonprofit CEOs or presidents to date. Approximately 89% of those accused have either resigned or retired, or were fired or suspended. Approximately 30% were fired outright.

But one of the most challenging tasks for any board is firing its CEO. [...read more]

The Right Way To Handle A CEO Scandal

Davia Temin, Corporate Board Member, 2018

CBM-The-Right-Way-to-Handle-a-CEO-Scandal

It used to be that a founding CEO could be excused all manner of misbehavior by his or her board, as long as it was kept quiet and the bottom line was not negatively impacted. In my 20 years as founder and CEO of a boutique crisis management firm, I have dealt with well over 60 cases of CEO dismissal, and an equal number of case where the CEO did not get dismissed. It used to be that the board might either tolerate bad behavior, or publicly support a CEO while privately chastising him relentlessly. Regardless, he or she would stay.

More recently, however, given the outsized attention to serious CEO misbehavior, boards really have little choice—they must react, and act, quickly and decisively. In the brave new world of 24-hour news cycles and social media commentary that transits the globe at the speed of light, no CEO is invulnerable or—once found to be guilty of ethical violations—irreplaceable. [...read more]

The Facebook Mess: The Difference Between Commissioning And Acting On Opposition Research

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, November 30, 2018

Forbes-Temin-11-30-18

Not everything that Facebook has done lately is wrong. So, let's try to sort out the prudent from the feckless before we all jump on the "kill Facebook" bandwagon.

Due Diligence vs. Opposition (Oppo) Research

Organizations commission in-depth research on their competitors and perceived adversaries all the time: it's called due diligence. In fact, it could be argued that a company or non-profit is not doing their job if they don't seek to understand deeply those who invest in them, comment on them, compliment them, and criticize them. That is simply looking for more information, motives, ulterior motives, and doing the proper due diligence that their stockholders and stakeholders would expect them to do. Good strategy would dictate that they can not be expected to fly blind in a firestorm, if they can help it.

On this level, there is absolutely nothing wrong -- in my opinion as someone who has been active in creating public strategies for private and public organizations for a long time -- with Facebook's commissioning "oppo" research into George Soros after he excoriated tech companies at Davos. You know what: every good professional would, or should have, done the same thing. [...read more]

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