Usher in the era of the ‘humble’ corporation

Jay Baer
Image by couchlearner via Flickr

Reading Jay Baer’s recent post about truth and candour, I think he has got a great point.

The RSS-reading public loves a screw-up – an opportunity to poke fun at hubris and pride brought low.  Domino’s is the most recent example of a long list of internet marketing screw-ups.

He says

I never thought I’d see a day when corporations were the most trustworthy and forthright among us, but it draws nigh.

Wow.

The honest corporation is coming… can’t wait.  And yet, a small part of my brain seems to doubt this.  Many people would love to see honesty triumph over evil manipulators but human nature being what it is makes me think that ‘trying it on’ will continue.  It’ll just take a new form.

But taking the moral high ground and thinking positively – I’d like to set a challenge for you.

What is the worst rumour or gossip about your organisation?

I can’t answer this for you.  If you are party to the senior corporate people, policies, strategies and mess-ups that have happened in the past year in your company – you can answer this.

  • What is the one thing that has the potential to most embarrass your organisation if it were leaked to the public?
  • Which bit of bad news would cause you the most sleepless nights / stress headaches?
  • How would you choose to publicly humiliate your employer?
  • What could an employee reveal that would make your share price tumble or clients to resign?

The short, easy answer to all of the situations is to not let it happen in the first place.

Quick fixes

Go read about Crisis PR and get some free or professionally paid for advice on how to handle a situation if true but bad news does hit the headlines.

Check employment contracts for privacy and secrecy statement clauses and enforce them if needed.

But in the medium term, surely it’s better to run a clean ship?

What might you choose to do differently if any of the scenarios above came to public light?

Becoming a trustworthy corporation

Firstly, do you want to be a trustworthy corporation?  What are the benefits?

If yes, go and make a list of things to do differently.  Share it internally and make your own subsequent management decisions about what changes to make.

‘Nuff said.

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