The Right Steps When Things Go Wrong
When bad things happen the only right move is to make the necessary corrective steps and admit to your flaws.
There is always that one time when a crisis emerges. Someone messes up down the line that comes back to be a major pain to those ultimately responsible. Sometimes, we are the ones who mess up. This has been a serious problem for businesses, campaigns and brands alike. There are a few steps that we can take and a few lessons we can learn from those who did it right and from those who didn’t.
Melania Trump delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention. It was about 15 minutes long. In it she laid out what she felt of a Donald Trump presidency and leadership, what she would do if honoured to be first lady and what she believes the world needs now; and it wasn’t ‘love sweet love,’ but leadership, integrity, etc. The basic tenets you’d expect from a spousal endorsement.
All in all, it was a good speech. However, what the world remembers about the speech are the unfortunate two to three minutes near the beginning of her speech, where it mirrored words of Michelle Obama in 2008 and the Democratic National Convention.
What can we learn from situations like these?
Proof it yourself.
I’ll say right off the bat, it’s not always possible to write your content yourself, but if you have a team of writers at least fact check it yourself. The buck stops at you. It will put egg on your face when the unthinkable happens and your name has been besmirched by allegations. And not all of us have the privilege of news media that will highlight it today and forget it tomorrow. Sometimes it sticks, ruins career paths and reputations for life. If you get up there and say it, post it, print it, or present it, you are endorsing the methods used to get it there in the first place. Even if you are claiming plausible deniability, your credibility will be called into question.
People mostly remember the bad stuff.
About 12 minutes of this speech have gone completely unnoticed. Some have not focused on the fact that she is a mother, wife and successful businesswoman; at least those who tune into liberal leaning news media regularly.
In the 24-hour news cycle that exists today and with the prevalence of social media, every slip up you make can go viral instantly. And that is exactly what happened in this instance. By the next morning CNN had a side-by-side comparison of the area of the two speeches called into question. From individuals to local insurance companies to the Huffington Post, image macros, otherwise known as memes, continue to proliferate on social media, making fun of Melania Trump and highlighting the very thing the campaign wanted to ignore.
Don’t make the problem worse.
The Trump campaign did exactly that when for nearly two solid days they didn’t even acknowledge that anything had happened; some unaffiliated campaign supporters even tried to blame Hilary Clinton. Lest we forget, this is NOT a political post, or a political blog.
Simply put, when you deny what is blatantly obvious it makes people think that you don’t value their intelligence. Admitting our faults is kind of counter intuitive to most but it is key to integrity. It let’s people see you are human, have flaws and you are willing to work on them. It keeps you humble, and when you do make a mistake or a misstep, people are more likely to forgive you, rather than skewer you time after time.
Make it right.
That’s exactly what Steve Harvey did. When the dust from Miss Universe cleared last December, it was evident that a melee had ensued. But Steve Harvey didn’t miss a beat. The same night that he announced and crowned the wrong woman as Miss Universe, he went about to make amends immediately. When he noticed there was a problem he accepted full responsibility without flinching.
In what must have been a gut wrenching moment he carefully walked back out on stage, apologised and made no excuses, rather took responsibility for the error.
“OK folks . . . I have to apologise,” he told a confused crowd in Las Vegas. (sic)
“Let me just take control of this. This is exactly what’s on the card. I will take responsibility for this. It was my mistake. It was on the card.” Backstage he apologised to Miss Philippines, and later took to twitter to publicly apologise, again.