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20 years

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Leaders behaving badly


Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger are the latest examples of what Time Magazine  calls "men behaving badly."

Men behaving badly isn't just confined to the sex accusations.  The litany of sins and crimes that we read about also includes insider trading, fraud and more.   I don't think that bad behavior is just confined to the male gender, so let's  broaden the topic to leaders behaving badly.  Is it power, is it opportunity, is it human nature, or the rules apply to everyone else syndrome, or are there other factors that cause people to stray from what is considered the norm or even what's legal?

In my career at CommCore as a crisis and media coach, I've long ago lost the ability to be truly surprised by a new set of facts to respond to.  There's always a little surprise at the specifics or the individual who is alleged to have at the very least made a faux pas, and may have done something illegal.

The BP oil spills and Toyota auto recalls have forced organizations to look at crisis plans from an operations point of view.  The increase in cyber attacks and data breaches have caused associations, companies and governments to plan for these crises.  To date, I just don't see enough organizations thinking through the human crises.  One reason is that it's very hard to ask a CEO if there is anything in his or her personal life.  And absent real suspicion it's hard to overly grill someone who denies rumors or innuendo.

Two points: One: reputation management means thinking about what your organization would do if your leader were caught up in "behaving badly" issue. Two:  Crisis drills should incorporate more human failure scenarios in the drills and crisis simulations.

What is your take on the "people behaving badly" problem?  How easy will it be to include more human failure scenarios in a crisis drill?

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