Harvard Business Review (December 2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the THRID POST: Let the Response Fit the Scandal (by Tybout and Roehm): This is the article that Tiger Woods should have read before saying almosnt nothing to the press and instead letting guys like Leno and Letterman fill in the gaps.
My advise to Tiger would have been simple…and is what I teach at George Mason University to students about crisis media: Tell the Truth, Tell it all, Tell it NOW!
The authors refine it more into several steps, and it’s worth every CEO taking a quick look:
1. Assess the Incident: Think about how your key stakeholders (employees, customers, board, etc) will view the incident. Don’t operate in a management vacuum.
2. Acknowledge the problem: First do no harm—focus on the investigation that you’ll do quickly to get to the bottom of it…acknowledgement and speed of reaction is important. Wait too long and Jay Leno steps up with some of his own words of wisdom!
3. Formulate a Response: Deny it fast (within 24 hrs..my rule) if it’s false. If it’s true…explain and apologize, describe the punishment and/or any compensation that might be involved.
4. Implement the Response: Figure out the level of responder:, CEO, etc. and the tone of response. Mainly, do what you say you will do. If you say one thing but do the opposite or worse, nothing at all--the apology will be wasted, and you're worse off than ever.