Excuses, excuses, excuses. Between Mike McQueary, Linkedin and Jay Townsend, is no one able to own up to their actions – or rather their non-actions – and just shoulder the blame for which they are due?
If your aim is to resolve a crisis in the shortest amount of time, then passing the blame and making excuses is most definitely not the strategy to take – yet it’s what is being done, across the board, in the biggest crises happening around the globe today.
So many big – make it enormous – crises currently in the news. Crises involving individuals and brands of high power, yet not one of these individuals or brands seems to have a) the common sense or b) the moral ethics to own up to their mistakes and provide their victims, and the public alike, with a sincere and truthful apology.
Powerful brands with egos too high will plummet to their demise if they can’t own up and understand the true power behind a sincere apology. And that, ladies and gentlemen is a fact that needs to be learned.
Within one of their blog post “updates” on their current security breach, Linkedin writes:
“As you may have heard, there have been reports of other websites that have suffered similar thefts.”
I’m sorry, but how is this relevant? It’s not. It’s a half-assed attempt at side-stepping the blame. As if because it has happened to other brands it’s somehow less severe and more acceptable. It isn’t.
As for McQueary’s non-action to stop the despicable Sandusky-abuse, yet hiding behind the fact that he did his “legal obligations”, even though those actions went nowhere and led to another 11 years of childhoods being destroyed beyond repair. These “legally correct” actions may pass in the court of law, but have not passed in the court of public opinion – and, to my knowledge, no attempt at any apology has ever been issued or made to the victims, their families or the horrified public.
And then there’s Townsend. Making excuses, not owning up to his unacceptable comment and issuing the infamous non-apology on his Facebook page.
Where is 1) the proper crisis management and 2) the common sense and human decency from these powerful brands and public figures?
Let this, please, be a lesson for you and your crisis communications plan. There is true power in a sincere and meaningful apology – power that can help towards the resolution of a crisis. Lack-there-of will have the adverse effect and will only distance you further from your customers and fans, not to mention the relationship and trust you once shared.
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Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.