Declining trust, crisis management skills and more errant tweets

Too much going on to keep up with. Here are three valuable items–completely unrelated. Each of them worthy of far more comment than I can provide right now.

Trust in corporations continues to decline–particularly among influence leaders.

I try and document all the information on the status of trust in our major institutions as it continues to be a primary interest of mine. But I have a hard time with much of the analysis offered by media outlets–including this time by Daily Dog. I believe that the horrendous pressure media outlets (old and new media) are under to generate eyes on the screen leads them to focus on blame, fear, outrage and extreme emotions. Daily Dog participates in this same pattern (see previous posts about their treatment of BP, Toyota and others). If our main information institutions find profit in undermining the trust of the big and powerful, can we trust them to analyze this loss of trust? I think the answer to that is found in the lack of trust found in the media–considerably lower than the corporations they so eagerly attack.

Crisis leadership skills–a much needed capability these days. This fortune/cnn report highlights some of what is needed to be successful in managing crises. It is critical to understand crisis leadership skills and I would think that boards hiring new CEOs or executive directors would evaluate the prospects from this perspective. The best analysis of what it takes to be a successful crisis leader I have seen is from the Coast Guard’s Incident Specific Performance Review prepared by professionals involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill and with the experience and point of view to comment. I have been including this outstanding list in some of the crisis plans I’ve been working on.

Finally, here’s one more sad story of an errant tweet costing a marketing firm its biggest account. I think a lot more companies are going to lose their clients and a lot more employees will lose their jobs for this kind of thing. It’s almost in the nature of the beast. Here you have a medium that is intended for quick, easy almost thoughtless sharing of the inane among friends. But, it is so easily spread to people for whom the messages were never intended, it can last forever, and can mean something entirely different. The ease of it, and the common usage, is a deadly trap. I like the explanation provided here–it was an emotional reaction out of frustration. But that is precisely the danger particularly in a crisis. It is so easy when seeing what others are saying, or observing how things are going, to express personal frustrations with these channels that seem merely intended for personal conversation. The consequences can be excrutiating. I would advise that you put a big red sticker on your computer, particularly crises, that says THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET!