As a business journalist, I covered my share of corporate scandals.
They present one of the toughest challenges an executive team can face. Unlike losing out on a bid or a big contract, scandals can do lasting brand damage and often point to problems within a company culture. There is a sense of urgency around them. Statements are issued, heads roll, sometimes new policies are put in place, all in an effort to right the ship. While that is important, truly excellent leaders take the time to do something else; they want to understand what really took place so that it won't happen again.
We could always tell more trouble was brewing when an executive or CEO refused to do interviews in the midst of a crisis. Yes, you could argue they are busy trying to stem the bleeding, but employees and customers want to hear directly from executives so they can assess the authenticity of the effort. Corporate communications teams and marketers play an essential role in that. The fact they appear on only 34% of crisis teams is deeply worrying. [fastcompany.com/why-crisis-communicators-need-real-time-information]
A CEO's willingness to hear the truth as well as speak the truth during this critical time can make all the difference in a brand's ability to recover. Your compliance teams, operations and HR can help you fix the problem, but your communications partners are critical in helping you face the problem and ultimately make meaningful change.