In business as in life, things go wrong. The product launch failed miserably. A visible person in your organization made a politically incorrect statement. Something terrible or tragic happened on your watch. And we could go on about unethical conduct but you get the idea. Humans in organizations make very human mistakes. In a perfect world, we celebrate mistakes, we point out that all sorts of innovations came from mistakes. But the real world isn’t the perfect world. When something goes wrong we quickly realize that the real world wants to assess blame and some may want to magnify our mistakes for their own purposes. This is what leads us down the path of denial. Then we get caught and well, Martha Stewart went to jail for this.
But in the world of communications, there are strategists who believe there’s and art to recovering from mistakes. And if an artful strategy for mistake recovery goes well, it can lead to much future success. Dorie Clark is one such person. She believes that in the face of a “screw-up,” honesty is not only the best policy, it’s also the best way not to be a bad trending topic on Twitter and TV. And if your honesty doesn’t get you out of trouble, at least it won’t get you into any more trouble. Additionally, you could simply laugh at yourself and hope that others are laughing with you rather than the other thing. Then try to reframe the discussion and focus on your base. Such honesty may or may only work for some situations. For everything else there’s Internet Shame Insurance – from Lifehacker. Who would have guessed?
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