Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Invaluable Lesson From Herman Cain

If Herman Cain accomplishes nothing else in his career, he is providing an invaluable lesson in how to respond to allegations of misconduct.

He was accused of sexually harassing two female employees while he headed the National Restaurant Association in the 90’s.

The first public statement on behalf of the Republican Presidential candidate came from his chief campaign aide Mark Block, who told MSNBC that Cain “never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of Story. And he added, I am not personally aware of any settlement.”

In a later interview on FOX TV, Cain said, “If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it, and hope it wasn’t for much.”

In a still later interview Cain’s story changed.  He said, “Yes, there was some sort of settlement or termination,” in an interview with Greta Van Susteren.

Then on PBS, Cain said, “I was aware that an agreement was reached. The word settlement versus the word agreement, you know, I’m not sure what they called it.”

So on the first day Cain began with a declaration there had been no sexual harassment. And finally he concluded that one woman might have incorrectly interpreted something he said as being inappropriate and a settlement of agreement was reached.

Political pundits immediately began to ask “Can he survive this?” 

That’s not the question to ask.  The question to ask is why didn’t he respond truthfully and adequately to end the story on the first day, rather than draw the story out over several days, leaving potential voters to wonder what really happened and why didn’t he answer the question to begin with.
If you, or your company/organization are accused of something “wrong” answer as thoroughly as you can as quickly as you can, and then every time the question comes up again, simply respond with “I’ve already answered that, do you have any other questions?”

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