Friday, March 26, 2010

Has Tiger Said Enough?

No one should be surprised that the media, almost all forms of it, are still complaining that Tiger Woods has not answered all their questions -- particularly what happened the night he drove his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree in front of his Florida home.

I must confess, I too am curious. Maybe its because I spent more than 30 years in the news business.

However, in the job I have been doing for nearly 20-years, I have come to believe there is a limit, no matter what the public or its alleged representatives in the media say.

When an organization or an individual gets into trouble, there are some basic principles that apply and have not changed much since our founder Bob Irvine wrote the first book on crisis communications in 1988 -- WHEN YOU ARE THE HEADLINE.

The individual or the leader of the organization must step up and take responsibility for what happened or what went wrong . . . the sooner the better.

Then he or she must express their regret, their apology, their sympathy, whichever is appropriate and follow that with a statement of what they are going to do to fix the problem.

If it is a company that made or distributed a defective or contaminated product, they must admit it happened -- it's okay to explain how it happened -- and then it is essential the spokesperson explain what has or is being done to make sure it never happens again.

If its a case of individual misconduct -- ethical or moral -- the person responsible needs to own up, apologize and in as few words as possible explain what he or she is going to do to make sure it never happens again.

THEN, they have to live up to that public commitment.

It is often more important for public people, public organizations and companies to "do the right thing" than to keep talking about.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Larry. I have to say I agree with you. However, I think that the media has objected to the way they've been treated. He is issuing statements instead of doing interviews. And they were really annoyed, when the issue first broke, at him calling a press conference and refusing to take questions. They felt used. Then he left everything very open ended, and has issued terse little statements since. I think the fact that his image was so, so squeaky clean is also problematic.

    I feel Tiger should have done a press conference and answered a handful of questions. He should have been a bit more contrite and genuine. He should have talked a bit more about what drove him to do it, and talk about the active steps he is taking in treatment. Then, I think he should go to statements, perhaps with a representative taking calls for clarifications. When he gets back on the links, I hope he accepts the fact that he will have to do some interviews. But this whole thing will continue to simmer until he addresses it a little more squarely. The problem with his public statements is he appears to be very defensive and hiding something. Which leaves all kinds of room for his mistresses to fill in the gaps.

    --Susan G.