Sunday, February 05, 2006

Self-inflicted Wounds 

There is nothing so frustrating as a self-inflicted wound -- a dumb act that should never have occurred but did. This is a case with severe ramifications that have been bedeviling The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette for the past week. It is easy to envision the publisher raging in his office at how such a stupid thing could have happened. How could anyone use paper with people's credit card numbers printed on them as scrap rather than shredding it? Who was thinking?

The newspapers, however, seemed to be doing the right thing, given the embarrassment. They fessed up immediately, put banks of operators into action and are doing what they can to ward off potential damage. One could say there wasn't much else that they could do, but there was. They could have denied it or said that it was minimal. They could have stonewalled reporters and anyone who wanted to find out. They could have trotted out lawyers and hid behind legal "no comments." They haven't, as far as I can tell.

The most important thing the newspapers can do is to make sure that such stupidity never happens again, and they seem to be moving that way rapidly.

Every company, every organization, risks harming itself through an unintended but extremely dumb act. CEOs should never be too proud of how their operations run, and they should always be alert to the PR and reputational damage one screw-up can cause.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?