Monday, April 12, 2004


This blog has an interesting discussion of candidates who take one position then another. The comment was from April 8 so you will have to scroll down. The point is that accusing another of flip-flopping is a personal attack and not a commentary on a political point or its validity.

Flip-flopping is not appreciated in any context in society. Look what happens to a company that changes earnings estimates because projections are too high. Their stock is sold down quickly and investors jump ship. Look at CEOs who make promises then don't fulfill them. They are removed from office.

It seems to me the proper public relations counsel is the careful qualification to avoid flip-flopping and accusations. "IF this happens, then I support that, but we will have to wait and see." This provides one with an out and from being trapped by critics later. Companies qualify their earnings estimates heavily with long and turgid lawyer statements at the beginning of every financial presentation, but that is not enough. It is better to be hedge during the presentation itself and when things don't work as one planned, everyone was warned. Even range estimates should be qualified. "We expect to reach X to Y cents per share IF the economy and interest rates stay where they are over the next three months." Some companies do this, but not all.

A push for certainty is a shove in the wrong direction. Nothing in life is certain and the future is the least certain of all. It is better to be conservative and outperform than ambitious and embarrassed.


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