Leadership and Crisis Communications – Sins of 2009 & How to Redeem Yourself in 2010

This is our 5th and final day of looking back at the sins of 2009 and ways to redeem ourselves for 2010.

Today we’ll look at what leaders don’t know.

In 2009 I launched a new keynote called, Leadership When “It” Hits the Fan. It has placed me on the stage in front of a growing list of associations and audiences of CEOs, VPs and managers.

And as much as I bashed Social Media yesterday for being a shiny new object, the fact is, that shiny new object can have serious negative consequences for a company, especially when things go wrong.

It always disturbs me during my keynote, as I enter a dialogue with the leaders, to learn exactly what they know, what they don’t know, and what they don’t know they don’t know.

During a crisis I live by a cardinal rule to communicate quickly with the media, your employees and other key stakeholders. My goal is to make sure a company issues a public statement within the first hour that a crisis has gone public.

Leaders, meanwhile, often fall into decision paralysis. As a result, they make no decision because they fear they will make the wrong decision. They wait to have all the facts before they say anything at all.

The biggest thing leaders don’t know, going into 2010, is how fast the world of Social Media moves. Leaders are oblivious to the fact that while they are in their crisis command center, deciding if they should issue a statement, their employees, customers and the public are posting comments, pictures and videos to the web at lightening fast speed.

During my keynote, I ask the leaders how many of them have used the most popular forms of social media.

• When asked how many use LinkedIn.com, 10% – 20% usually say yes.

• When asked how many use FaceBook.com, fewer than 10% say yes.

• When asked how many have watched a video on YouTube.com, 25% usually say yes.

• When asked how many have ever posted a video to YouTube.com, the response drops to fewer than 2%.

• When asked how many use Twitter.com, the response is usually 0-1%.

This should be especially disturbing because 2009 was the year that a fully loaded passenger plane landed in the Hudson River in the middle of the world’s biggest media capitol, yet the first official news photo came from a citizen on a ferry boat with an i-Phone and TwitPics.

So is your leadership team fully educated or clueless? Is one of your 2009 sins a failure to educate your leaders about the negative impact of Social Media? If so, I’ll help you as best as I can in 2010 to find redemption. I can offer you several free articles for your company or association publications. Articles are a great way to reach leaders. My keynote is available for corporate and association meetings if you’d like me to do the dirty work for you. And you are welcome to join me Monday, January 19th for my teleseminar on Social Media When “It” Hits the Fan. Which ever of these might benefit you, look for my contact information in the e-mail for today’s BraudCast. I’m in the office waiting for your call. (Here is my contact link as well.)

The main thing is to find channels in 2010 to education your leaders, because When “It” Hits the Fan and things get ugly because of their failings, lack of knowledge and miscalculations, they may ultimately place the blame on you.

To listen to this program as an audio BraudCast use this link

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