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Reputation Management

December 1, 2011

Everywhere you turn these days there seems to be universities, politicians and individuals defending themselves in the media.  Every day there is an update on ESPN, MSN and local media on new allegations facing college sports programs, coaches and presidential candidates.  The media’s 24 hour firestorm demands substantial PR efforts by the accused parties.

In my early 20’s I was an administrative assistant in a non-profit organization. Only two months into the position, the president of the organization realized the bookkeeper had made gross errors leading to a financial crisis.  The swift action by my boss to fire the staff member, meet with her board members to clarify the situation, and hire outside accountants to rectify the problem still resonates with me.  As leader of the organization she handled the situation head on with direct communication and a plan.

As women entrepreneurs we don’t expect to face major PR problems or devastating personnel issues seen in today’s news.  Most of us weren’t trained in communications, law or human resource management. But being prepared for a major PR issue is a good idea.  Someday we might face a disgruntled employee, an angry client or a major workplace issue that becomes more public than we ever anticipated.  How we handle that issue could make or break our reputation and our business.

Today’s blog entry is to make you think about how you would handle a major PR crisis within your organization.  Consider whether you need to create a list of individuals you might reach out to in a crisis such as an attorney, public relations firm, board members or other trusted advisors for guidance. If you have employees, you might want to review your policies, contracts and disciplinary procedures. No one ever intends to be faced with an unexpected crisis but being prepared and having a plan is smart especially in today’s world.

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