Transparency in Crisis

Sections of this topic

    Tell the whole story, or suffer the consequences

    There’s nothing the media loves to expose more than a cover-up. Any hint of things being less than kosher in the aftermath of a crisis will result in heightened scrutiny, and if there’s anything being hidden then someone out there will dig until it comes out. What should you do with those unsavory details, then? Brad Phillips, of Mr. Media Training, explains:

    Get It All Out: It’s human to want to bury the bad parts of a story that haven’t yet gotten out. But trying to bury negative parts of the story often extends the crisis and makes it worse. Information usually gets out anyway, and the lack of forthrightness reinforces suspicions about your integrity. If you think something is likely to get out anyway – and it probably will – it’s better to get it out on your own terms instead

    Getting it out on your own terms accomplishes two things. First, it gives you credibility in the eyes of your stakeholders, always important if you want your words to be taken seriously. Second, it helps to eliminate the information gap that is often filled by hurtful rumor and innuendo and instead replaces it with verified facts, meaning your reputation takes less damage and can be repaired more easily.

    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.]