Standby for an overwhelming stereotype: There are two types of people in this world – the slow, steady considered types who follow the mantra that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Then there’s the polar opposite. The stitch in time saves nine types – who go by gut feel and seize the opportunity just in time.
The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. There are times when it is right to step back, take a deep breath and think carefully before acting. But equally so, there are times when you need to act.
My observation is that more often than not companies tend to fall into the former category – not necessarily because they are more considered but simply because of bureaucratic processes that involve too many people in the chain of decision making or just plain intertia. (It is far easier to do nothing, than to risk copping criticism).
In the fast-moving world of reputation and brand, in the 24 hours news cycle where what happened yesterday is history, I am convinced too many companies lose opportunities or suffer damage to their reputation because they lack a sense of urgency.
When a customer is complaining, when your company is being maligned in the media over an issue, taking 24 hours to decide if you’ll buy into the debate is simply too long. The damage is done. The incident is reported, the negative impression is set and when you turn up with a response, the world has moved on, no one cares anymore – they made up their minds about you yesterday.
That’s why being crystal clear on your story is so important. You need to have your script prepared now. It needs to be simple, emotionally engaging and relevant. That way, when you need to respond, you can do so with confidence, knowing you are building a consistent case before the jury in the court of public opinion. There’s a time to be considered of course. But considered can also be a cover up for un-prepared. Are you ready?