Tuesday, July 17, 2012
As PR practitioners we trust people. After all, employees and consumers keep organizations in existence. But what does an organization do when people are living in denial and refuse to see a danger confronting them? This appears to be the case here. The city of San Bernardino had plenty of warning that it could not keep spending the way it had been. But, it did. Now it is bankrupt. Citizens will suffer as the city realigns expenditures, and they will blame leadership. What should city executives have done? The answer might be no more than what the city manager did. He warned. He spoke out. He tried to cut back on spending. Nothing worked. Perhaps he should have done the one act he has now taken -- resigned before city finances caved. Public relations and communications cannot solve everything. There must be a willing message-receiver who listens. San Bernardino lacked that, but the city is not alone. There are many organizations stuck in their ways and resistant to change. All one can do is try while knowing that failure is an option.