Team: We’ll Overreact to Anything!
out as an ordinary day for Wickman. As external marketing/communications
liaison, he would keep himself plenty busy. He would tweak a
three-paragraph press release 19 or 20 times, get feedback from 15 or so
people, review the company’s web site at least 30 times (quality
control, don’t you know) and of course, write an extensive memo to his
supervisor discussing all of this.
a man with a lot on his plate!
his routine would be thrown off kilter. The Corporate Crisis Response
Team would see to that.
Monthly Monitor of Corporate Affairs, a story would appear about
Wickman’s company. A pretty glowing story, at that. It would explain
their recent sales growth, their CEO’s strategy for maintaining the
trend and leading customers’ glowing reviews of the company’s newest
kicked back and read the story in the Monitor’s online edition. Score,
he thought! This would buy him three or four months of memo writing and
coffee breaks, at least, before anyone expected him to accomplish
anything further. Every time someone strolled by Wickman’s office, he
waited expectantly for the inevitable kudos. Oh, here came Schotzsky.
Wickman tried to look like he wasn’t expecting the praise, but hey,
could you blame him for the glow?
see this?” Schotzsky was waving a printed copy of the Monitor story.
Hey! That didn’t look like a smile! “Look at this! Look at this,
Wickman said. “The story’s great. Makes us look like the innovative
geniuses we are. I should get a bonus for this.”
furrowed his brow. “Wickman! Look at the last paragraph!”
took the printout from Schotzsky and read it aloud: “The company
attributed some of its success to a decision in early 2005 to sell off
an unprofitable division for $15 million.”
thought about that for a second. “Yeah, didn’t we actually sell it for
did!” Schotzsky exclaimed. “And it was in May 2005! May!”
here!” Schotzsky pointed out. With his finger. “It says early
doesn’t qualify as early? It’s in the first half.”
second quarter, Wickman! The Corporate Crisis Response Team is
meeting in the Founders Legacy Conference Room in 10 minutes, Wickman.
You need to be there and you need to have answers.”
looked at Schotzsky like he had just kicked his dog, which come to think
of it, he had actually done once at a company picnic. “You’re not
serious. This is a crisis?”
the Corporate Crisis Response Team lives for this stuff. You better
bring 26 copies of the press release you sent out, along with your notes
from all your conversations with this journalist.”
Wickman’s only notes consisted of the guy’s phone number on a sticky
note where he had also scrolled “Pink Floyd The Wall” six or seven
times. This day officially sucked.
committee members were assembled with looks of concern. The chairman sat
at one end of the table. He was from accounting, and don’t ask me to
explain that one. He motioned for Wickman to take the vacant seat at the
Wickman, as you know, today the company faces a public crisis.
Information has appeared in the mass media that distorts our history and
casts our company in an inaccurate light. This committee has been
charged with preparing a report of the facts and a set of
recommendations to executive management for the addressing of this
looked around the table. Just as Schotzsky had said, there were 26
people sitting around the table, apparently prepared to hunker down the
entire day figuring out how to “solve” the crisis of the day.
department in the company was represented. There was no chance of the
company getting any work done whatsoever, so long as the Esteemed
Committee was in session.
going anywhere for awhile,” Wickman thought to himself. “I need a
The Investigation’s Shocking Conclusion!
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