Whenever a crisis happens at an organization, rumors begin. We shouldn’t be surprised because human beings are wired for curiosity. We want to know what happened, what’s going on, and what’s next. Channeled in the right direction, curiosity creates inventions, cures disease, and births great art. But channeled in the wrong direction, curiosity can destroy reputations, throw organizations into chaos, and undermine the common good. But there’s one way to stop unwanted speculation and rumor in it’s tracks:
If you’re a leader in politics, ministry, business, or in the media here’s something important you need to know: In today’s digital culture, you can’t hide anymore. In the old days, politicians could hide a mistress, TV evangelists could hide their jets or mansions, and anyone could hide a DUI conviction, an old arrest, and more. But today, the river of information that flows into Google is just too vast. That’s why I strongly recommend that if you’re in the public eye, you need to
During my career, I’ve dealt with many crisis situations with churches and ministries. Pastors who experience moral failings, staff members embezzling money, leaders who turn out to be pedophiles, serial adulterers, incompetence, and much more. Every situation is different, and the goals include healing the hurt, restoring the leader according to Biblical principles, and keeping the church healthy. Seeking God is critical, but along with that process, there are some immediate practical choices that have to be made. If you’re a church leader, elder, board member, or know someone who is, this is a critical list you should
Rarely a week goes by that you don’t see a public relations nightmare happening at a local church, ministry, or nonprofit. From a leader’s moral failing, to financial improprieties, to inappropriate sexual relationships, there are many ways a crisis can damage or destroy an otherwise great organization. And sometimes a crisis happens that’s not even your fault. That’s why I asked Kathy Lovin, who does a brilliant job managing Public Affairs and Communications for The Salvation Army USA Western Territory for some coaching on handling a crisis. Here’s her excellent advice:
Chris Christie may be finished as a presidential candidate, and maybe not. But either way, he experienced a potentially catastrophic event this past week with his now famous “Bridgegate” problems. While the vast majority of media critics and consultants agree that he’s handling the crisis very well so far (taking full responsibility, firing people at fault, having a 2 hour press conference to deal with questions), it certainly left him in a difficult position. It’s an instructional moment for leaders of all types for two reasons:
Last week, Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina was confronted by the incredible power and influence of the media. When a member of the church’s leadership team sent an email to the congregation asking for “only white people” to greet at its front doors in an effort to “bring [the church’s] racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line,” the leaked email set off a firestorm of criticism. The church, realizing the
If you missed my video during the Nine’s Conference, then you can view it here. I was asked to speak for a few minutes to Church, ministry, and nonprofit leaders about what they should be thinking about in order to avoid a “PR Nightmare.” Here’s what I recommended. I’d love to know your response:
Download episode 23: Crisis Public Relations: What Happens When Things Go Wrong (35 MB).
Although this podcast episode was originally produced a few years ago, it’s still a good reminder of the importance of handling public relations problems well. In this episode, I discuss “Crisis PR” – what do you do when something bad happens to your company, non-profit, or religious organization. It’s a short, information packed look at how to respond during a crisis, especially in the digital age. Learn how to respond effectively, and win back the public’s trust.
Watching the BP oil spill unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, is like watching a cautionary tale about handling a PR crisis. As a CNN Money reported stated in May: “Oil giant BP has a marketing slogan dubbed “Beyond Petroleum.” If only that were true. That ad campaign has to rank up there with Toyota’s “Moving Forward” motto as the most unintentionally hilarious of the year.” The spill is bad enough. But what makes is much worse is the response from the oil company leadership. Here’s a basic chronology:
Interesting to read the responses to my last post on handling a crisis. After reading some responses, I thought it might be good to write a little on AVOIDING a crisis to begin with. As I said before, it’s impossible to completely avoid issues like this – especially in larger organizations with many employees. And as some readers mentioned, it’s not about rules – because you can’t always enforce rules. Integrity has to be a part of the organization’s culture.