Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Lesson: Don't Do This!

Every organization and business, other than Transocean: Do as I say, not as Transocean does!

It's been 16 months since the April 2010 explosion on a Gulf Of Mexico oil rig that killed eleven men and dumped a ton of crude oil into the ocean.

Except for the eleven families, and many Gulf area businesses, most people have quit thinking about the disaster and oil spill.

So, Transocean reminded everyone this week, and, once again, blamed BP. Transocean said BP used a poor well design and failed to properly assess the risks and failed to alert Transocean to the dangers.

BP reminded the public that it had "stepped up to its responsibilities..." and added, "...Transocean continues to take every opportunity to avoid its responsibilties."

I know, I know, the lawyers made them do it.

Their lawyers are not worrying about Transocean's reputation, nor future business. They are concentrating on saving Transocean as many billions of dollars as possible and BP lawyers are trying to spread the cost of capping the well, cleaning up the damage and paying claims to families that lost loved ones and others who lost their livilhood, to as many others as possible.

It has been estimated that the total bill will exceed $41-billion, including $4-billion to $5-billion in fines.

So far, BP partner Mitsui & Co. has agreed to pay $1.1-billion and Weatherford International will cough up $75-million to help BP recoup some of its loss. Meanwhile BP is pressuring Transocean, Halliburton and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to help with several billion dollars each.

The first of hundreds of spill-related lawsuits are expected to go to trial next February.

While the lawyers have their responsibility to their clients, my advice would be to stop pointing fingers, and settle every claim quietly and out-of-court. I'm not a financial expert, but I bet it will cost a lot less in dollars and added reputation loss, to pay whatever it will take to resolve all the claims and end the public spectacle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Do Delta Airlines & Rep. Anthony Weiner Have In Common?

They both did things without thinking about the consequences.

Then one took action quickly, and the other equivocated for days before taking belated action.

Delta Airlines, looking to milk every last dollar out of its paying passengers, put a $200 per bag fee on checked luggage for all passengers who could least afford it in economy class. That fee netted $2,800 in extra profit for Delta earlier this week when 14 U.S. soldiers on their way home from fighting in Afghanistan each had an extra bag and were hit with the $200 fee.

They loaded a video on YouTube to tell the world how Delta was treating American servicemen and women.

Within hours, Delta posted a blog apologizing, saying they had made a mistake, and were revising that policy, and working with the soldiers that had to pay it.

Then there's Congressman Anthony Weiner the Tweeter.

He got caught sexting to some women on Twitter. First he denied it, then days later, in a tearful media encounter, he apologized and took responsibility.

Delta's already out of the headlines and Rep. Weiner is still making new headlines.

The lesson for every organization and individual in the public eye is to always do the "right thing." Consider the consequences of your business or personal decisions BEFORE you act on them. When something does go wrong, and you do blunder, suck it up, take responsibility, control the revelation, apologize if it’s appropriate and then get back to doing the "right things" again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Message From Our Sponsor

Just a reminder, the next Institute for Crisis Management Crisis Communication Certification Course is July 12-13 & 14 in Louisville, KY and there are openings in the intensive two-day crisis communication workshop and the optional third day of media/spokesperson training.

The two-day training includes examples and case studies of the four kinds of business and organizational crises you face: sudden, smoldering, bizzare and perceptual. It includes how to identify your vulnerabilities, or as some people prefer your "risks" and how to prevent up to two-thirds of all potential crises.

The training includes what to include and how to get started on a crisis communication plan, and spends time talking about the digital crisis team, the importance of testing your plan and the other two major crisis plans every organization should have.

And, there is always a table-top exercise to give you a feel for what managing a crisis is like.

Attendees come from all around the globe and include folks from public relations, human resources, corporate counsel, risk management, and other upper level executive positions.

Attendance is limited to ten participants and there are still openings for the July course.

The optional third day of media training, is not limited to crisis training, but broader spokesperon training and includes three on-camera exercises.

For more information call 1-888-708-8351 or e-mail

Friday, June 3, 2011

Meet Erika

In case you missed the recent announcement, Dr. Erika Hayes James has joined the Institute for Crisis Management, bringing with her a new and expanded set of experiences and services for our clients around the world.

Dr. James brings a broad range of talents and skills to add to the services already offered by ICM.

She is a highly respected business professor and published author in the management/business field, allowing ICM to strengthen our crisis leadership services and broaden our capability to include "thought leadership" in the area of crisis management and leadership in general.

Thought leadership implies knowledge creation, including research capability, knowledge translation -- turning research into practice, developing crisis management/leadership tools and assessment, and knowledge sharing -- consulting, leadership training as well as crisis communication training, and coaching.

I have worked with Dr. James at the Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia since 2003. We hosted an international conference on Crisis Leadership and co-authored/edited a book on Crisis Leadership.

And she has co-authored a brand new book, Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During and After a Crisis.

Learn more about Erika's new book and what she can do for your company or organization at

You Don't Have To Be A Politician

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been the center of titillating media attention for a week now, because a picture of a man's "bulging" underwear was Tweeted to a college coed.

Weiner would not confirm nor deny the picture was of him, but he has been consistently adamant he didn't post it.

So, what if that picture was purported to be sent by the CEO or President of your company or your university, or your hospital, or the Superintendent of your school district? It could happen to someone like that just as easy as it could for a politician.

The irony of the Congressman's dilemma -- just a year ago, he married an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton officiated. Now Rep. Weiner's failure to admit if the picture is of him, is being compared to Clinton and his infamous statement about "the definition of is" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

I ask again, what if this was your guy, or gal? How would you have them respond?