• September 9, 2016

    3 Critical Reputation Crisis Steps For Every Leader

    3 Critical Reputation Crisis Steps For Every Leader: With today’s Social Media connectivity and people’s ability to voice their opinions or vent their angst, reputation attacks are no longer a question of ‘if’ rather it’s become a question of ‘when’. Of course, these attacks on our greatest personal asset are no longer limited to brands, celebrities, politicians and high-profile executives – we are all vulnerable. But fear not, as reputation issues don’t have to be issues if you know how to approach the situation. While there are multi-step, ultra-disciplined plans for handling reputation attacks, it’s vital to boil down the first few initial steps.  I’ve outlined three critical ones below. These do take some serious introspective work.  Your goals are to gain perspective, get over the hurt and anger and then identify the source of the attack to gauge the validity of the charges. Here are the 3 critical reputation crisis steps for every leader: Have you honestly identified the root cause of the issue? – Typically a reputation issue comes up due to a decision that led to an action or behavior. This takes getting very honest with yourself because if you are in denial about your decisions and actions, you’ll never truly address the issue or whatever this issue is. If left alone and unaddressed, you will repeatedly behave in the same manner and your reputation issues will end up being like one of those whack-a-mole games we see at carnivals – instead of the mole popping up again and again in different places, the behavior that first initiated your issue will just keep popping up again and again – I’m sure you can think of people you know like that!   How quickly do you move past your emotions to get to a plan – emotions are natural – it’s human nature to be upset when your reputation comes under attack – why me? How’d this happen? That person is out to get me! Those are all fair thoughts, but if we stew on those, we lose precious time.  I’ve learned over my 20+ years in communications and crisis management that time is the one resource you will never get back and you never seem to have enough of – move past the emotion and get working on your plan.   Is what is being said about you true and is the source credible? Identifying the source will enable you to validate the credibility of the accusations. There are times when you need to stand up and times when you need to remain focused on ‘staying the course.’ As a leader, you must be mindful of how much energy is spent on refuting the accusations versus continuing to let your consistent actions speak for yourself.   Leaders and entrepreneurs need to keep these reputation crisis steps close at hand in order to quickly and effectively stave off an attack. There is a saying in racing that sometimes you have to slow down to go fast.  While time is of the essence, how you deploy your time in crisis situations will dictate your recovery speed and success. Yes, […]

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  • August 25, 2016

    Lenny Kravitz ‘Throwin’ Some Ass’ Into Reputation Management

    Lenny Kravitz Throwin’ Some Ass into Reputation Management:: Several years back, Lenny Kravitz was named the celebrity Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Challenge at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The All-Star event is a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all race among drivers – this race is about the money and bragging rights! I was running Sprint’s marketing communications team for its NASCAR series sponsorship and on at this particular event, I was ‘on point’ to be with Lenny for various media interviews. His main role at the race was to give the most famous command in motorsports, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Well, in today’s races, it is “Drivers, start your engines!” We spent most of the day together between meeting drivers, media interviews and filming promotional videos for NASCAR. We stood on the infield grass near the Start/Finish line waiting for his ‘moment’ and joked around as the drivers were being introduced – he has a hilarious sense of humor! Lenny took in the amazing fly-over and watched the fans go crazy at the sight and sound of the F-15s as their afterburners lit up the summer evening sky. A few minutes later, Lenny leans over to me and says, “hey Mike, let me ask you something. You’ve been around this for a while. How do you think I should do this? What do you think they’d like?” It took me a second to realize what he was asking and then realize that this was a Grammy Award-winning artist/performer asking me my opinion about how to say, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” It was all very bizarre at the time and I didn’t give it much thought, or perhaps I would have answered differently. But in that moment, standing face to face with Lenny Kravitz, this was the professional advice I gave him. “Lenny, you saw how crazy the fans got with the fly-over, right?” He nodded his head, saying, “yeah.” “OK, then, you’ve got to throw some ass into it and just give it to them.” My parents would have been proud. A decade and a half spent in motorsports PR and my advice to Lenny is to ‘throw some ass into it’. Brilliant. But, it worked. He laughed, put his arm on my shoulder and said, “I got that.” Reputation Lesson: There will be times in your life when people are honestly looking for your advice. They are seeking this from you, more than likely, because they value what you will tell them based on your professional position or your personal experiences. Regardless of why you are being asked, it’s imperative that you understand your impact (positive or negative) on the person that is seeking your counsel as well as the impact (positive or negative) it will have on your reputation. 4 Tips To Give Solid Advice And Build Your Reputation: 1. Slow down and be in the moment :: this is tough in our society these days, but it’s a clear sign of respect to the other person. Make sure they know you are in the moment and that you are genuinely interested in helping them. An easy way to do […]

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  • August 25, 2016

    Lochte Loses Even After Winning Gold

    Ryan Lochte may have won gold in Rio, but he lost more when he came home to the United States. By now, we’ve seen the headlines and interviews about Lochte’s lie of being robbed with a gun held to his and fellow Olympians heads. It’s truly unfortunate, but it’s a scene that we see all too often when someone gets themselves into a situation, decides that an embellishment of the truth (or straight-up lie) will cover for their actions – all will be well! Well, not always … There’s a an old saying that goes like this, “what we do in the dark will always come to light.” As Lochte’s story unraveled, so did all four of his personal endorsement deals, which surely struck a blow that the 32-year-old swimmer hadn’t considered that late night in Brazil. It didn’t take long for Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal to get out of the Lochte partnership pool and dry off. Many reported the personal income loss to range from $750,000-$1,000,000. What may be worse than losing all of his personal endorsements is the damage done to his reputation. You see, Lochte still has years of earning potential as a competitive swimmer and gold medal Olympian. Now however, few brands will want to associate themselves with the type of person who will lie on a global platform while representing a nation. Are we all perfect? No and no one expects us to be – we are human. In my opinion, the disconnect occurred when Lochte parted ways with his values. Values matter, plain and simple. Values ground us and guide us through our most difficult trials in life. Clearly values such as honesty and integrity mattered to Speedo as the company statement directly called out: While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” Speedo, the swimwear company, said in a statement. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience. Will Lochte learn from this experience? Only time and his actions will tell. Read the full story on the New York Post.

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