Oh F***. You and your company are having a WFIO moment. There’s a horrible crisis and your investors, your customers, your team, the press want answers
What do you do? First, you need facts. What actually happened? What’s verified? What’s rumor? Sometimes you can gather all the facts right away, sometimes it takes time. But you still need to communicate. So what do you say?
You start with a brief holding statement saying that you’re investigating. You do not speculate beyond the facts you have confirmed. You do not speak off the cuff. How many times have we seen CEOs say things like “This isn’t true, our company would never do this” or “I never touched her” only to have to walk back those denials within hours? Don’t be that person.
When you DO have the facts, you may need to apologize. If so, do it immediately. Do it gracefully, patiently, and consistently. Via every communications channel.
Next, take control of the narrative. Suck up your courage and share the facts when you’ve completed your investigation. Show that you can own your mistakes and forthrightly resolve them.
Finally, describe your plan that will both fix what’s broken and ensure it never gets broken again.
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