Take Responsibility

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    Honesty pays off in crisis management

    Following a crisis, many businesses try to paint nasty incidents in a brighter light. It’s a natural reaction, but it’s not the right one. In a Ragan.com article, marketing expert Dan Harvey gave some advice on how to do the responsible thing, and in the process keep your reputation intact:

    Be open

    Don’t try to put a positive spin on a crisis situation or deny responsibility when your organization is clearly at fault. Even the slightest hint that you might be hiding the truth will greatly damage your credibility.

    The public has always been expert at spotting dishonesty. The difference now with social media is that your dishonesty will be discussed in great detail by thousands of people.

    In addition, don’t be afraid to let your emotions show. If you are genuinely upset by a crisis, let people see that. It is always a good thing to show that you are human, too.

    You need only check the trending topics on Twitter to see examples of this on a daily basis. If the public does somehow miss your dishonesty, the media will be more than happy to point it out, over, and over, and over and…you get the point.

    Be honest about mistakes, and make sure to let everyone know what you’re doing to fix them. Stick to that, and you’ll be on the right road for crisis management.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]