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Temin and Co.

Thought Leadership-Reputation Articles

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]

How To Bring Down A Bully Or Extortionist - Lessons From Jeff Bezos, Nancy Pelosi And More

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, February 11, 2019

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Sometimes it takes the richest man in the world to bring down a bully; sometimes, the Speaker of the House. But this is what heroes are made of.

Lately as a nation and world we've been idolizing a lot of adult bullies. We're not talking about the schoolyard anymore: From reality TV shows like The Apprentice ("you're fired") and Survivor to the White House and the National Enquirer — we seem to like our power misused and abused — taking advantage of those weaker, poorer, kinder, in trouble, or with a disability or two. Compassion seems to have flown out the window as survival of the nastiest prevails.

This does a number on our soul, of course. But few people — including religious figures — have been able to turn it around. Until Jeff Bezos and Nancy Pelosi. Both hugely powerful, rich (mega rich in Bezos's case) and successful in their own rights — they are charting a roadmap for how you can challenge a bully and win. So whether it's the current president or his tabloid-publishing buddy, or your boss, co-worker, client or relative, here are some new ideas on how to publicly vanquish a bully. [...read more]

What Would Bezos Do?

Davia Temin, Directors & Boards, February 11, 2019

Lessons for boards on how unexpected boldness sometimes wins the day

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"If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?"

With those words, written in a Medium blog post last week announcing that he would not give in to extortion by American Media LLC (AMI) and its publication the National Enquirer, Jeff Bezos set off a firestorm, and charted a course that few CEOs or boards have equaled.

What the founder of Amazon, and the richest man in the world, did was show us how the head of a public company could put it all on the line to stand up to bullies. "Courage comes first," he essentially told us, no matter what the personal or professional cost.

And apparently his prestigious board agreed. [...read more]

Jeff Bezos Shows Us A Thing Or Two - 6 Ways To Face Down Crisis With Courage

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

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Phoenix-like, Jeff Bezos has risen from the ashes of bad decisions to make a great one. He is showing us — individuals, CEOs, Board Members, and other leaders — how to stand up to bullying and extortion — when he has everything to lose by doing it.

Perhaps it takes the richest man in the country, or someone who has been accused of bullying himself, to have the self confidence to put it all on the line. But he is modeling a bold kind of leadership we haven't seen for a while.

Boards choose and keep CEOs not just for the insight, oversight and strategy they provide in business as usual - but how they lead through the firestorm.

And every organization has firestorms.

But not every CEO has the self-assurance, courage and backing to do the really, really tough — but right — thing when it all goes south. [...read more]

When the CEO Has To Go

Davia Temin, Directors & Boards, Fourth Quarter 2018

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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

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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

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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]

When Masters Of The Universe Fall - How Facebook Committed The 7 Deadly Sins Of Crisis Management

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, November 16, 2018

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Wall Street's Investment Bankers used to be called the Masters of the Universe, but that seems so last millennium now. As the mantle of unbridled self-confidence and ego has moved westward, many new "Tech Masters" have surpassed their predecessors in over-confidence, over-estimation of how powerful they are, and in how badly they can get things wrong. Crisis, of course, ensues.

Facebook showcases the whole issue. Every industry and every generation feels invulnerable as long as everything is going their way. And the behemoth that Mark Zuckerberg built has led the pack. But when a fall from grace comes, as it has come for Facebook (through their own mistakes says yesterday's blockbuster New York Times article Delay, Deny, Deflect: How Facebook Leaders Leaned Out in Crisis), it shakes the world. At least the cyber world, and all who live or visit there.

Crisis demands the ability to see clearly, the humility to admit mistakes readily, and the courage to do whatever it takes to fix those mistakes immediately. If you can't do this, you are committing one or more of the 7 deadly cardinal sins of crisis management. Facebook, it turns out, has committed all 7. [...read more]

How Should Men Accused of #MeToo Offenses Respond?

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, September 14, 2018

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What would have happened last year if—upon hearing of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment debacle and forced exit from the company he created—CBS CEO Les Moonves had decided to take a radically different path?

What if—knowing that a police report was being filed against him, and that news of it and other abuses he had never admitted to was inevitably going to come out in the current environment—he had chosen to come clean instead of continuing to stonewall? In fact, what would have happened if he had come clean long before?

While this is not the crisis advice one would necessarily give, as the #MeToo movement marches on we need to find some new strategies not only for curtailing abusive behavior, confronting it and making reparation but also for potentially modeling how one might recover honorably. [...read more]

Les Moonves Makes No. 700 On The #MeToo Index (And Jeff Fager Is 701)

Leadership, "Reputation Matters," Forbes, September 12, 2018

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Just in case any of us thought that the #MeToo phenomenon was a flash in the pan, the ouster of CBS CEO Les Moonves and 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Faber, the latest high-profile public figures to be felled as the movement continues, has proven otherwise. As our tally of public figures accused of sexual harassment, or other #MeToo violations, continues to climb, the mighty and the mousy, the sacred and the profane are being called to account. The numbers tell us that the movement has both momentum and staying power.

Les Moonves makes 700, and Jeff Fager 701. [...read more]

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