In today's economic and political climate, companies need to work hard to gain or build trust, especially if it is a company that impacts the environment. While companies do have politically outspoken CEOs or active corporate social responsibility programs they need to find ways to meaningfully engage the community. This includes understanding the personalities and politics of the issues, familiarizing oneself with the influential community groups, knowing the political leaders in the community and finding ways to build trust and valued relationships to show that your company wants to make a meaningful impact in their community and that you are willing to work with them, no matter what their concerns are. By doing so, you can advance your agenda while respecting local concerns and end up with mutual gains.
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Crises happen! Products are recalled, natural disasters strike and scandals pop up more frequently than we would like, but they happen. Other than being prepared for the unexpected, how quickly and meaningfully a company, public official or even a spouse responds will determine how quickly trust is restored and people can move forward from blame to fixing the problem.
As Michiganders we should be proud of who were are, were we come from and where we make our home. It is something to not only celebrate, it is something we should brag about. I am proud to be Michigan born and bred and make Detroit my home.
It's time to take the politics out of the system and create a process to deal with the challenges Michigan faces. It is time we ask the politicians to lead by stepping aside and allow neutrals to step in to guide the stakeholders seeking resolution
It is easy to point fingers and to shift the focus of the core of any issue by finding others to blame. In dealing with a crises, such as the Flint Water Crises, the time and attention by those directly involved should be focused on resolving the problems and making sure the needs of those negatively affected by the situation, both short term and long term, are taken care of.
Instead of finger pointing, the state must focus on the people first and let the litigation determine who was at fault.
Engaging the public through strategic communications is a vital component of any strategy, in both the public and private sector. That is why the State of Michigan, the Governor, each state Department, the City of Flint, the business and community groups in Flint, the Mayor of Flint, and other organizations affected by the water crises needs someone to help define the narrative to communicate about the situation, to find the people and their stories to share, to run interference between the national media looking for a story and the people of Flint looking for answers, for solutions and for help.