Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Blowing It 

Once in awhile, we blow something big. Sometimes we could have seen it coming, sometimes not. There is no joy when that happens, but there is fear that a client will fire us, that our boss will kick us out, that we will never recover from the bonehead move we made. It is then the temptation to cover up and justify is overpowering. But it is also then that we earn our reputations, if we confess our stupidity and take the blame for the error.

I don't know about you, but I have made mistakes throughout my career and in my personal life. I don't know of anyone who hasn't made one or two. We are human, even though clients expect us to be perfect. In the end, it is the size of error that counts, it seems to me. A typo can usually be recovered. Wrong advice for how to handle an interview might be damaging. Sending inaccurate information to reporters and then trying to cover it up is fatal if one is caught.

Honesty in the PR business should not be the best policy. It should be the only policy. That is why it is disheartening to see practitioners who "fib," use "white lies" or spin truth into something that has little relationship to reality.

Even at the risk of getting fired, be honest about what you have done. Then, don't do it again.


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