Its not the crime that causes the damage, it's the cover up

For failed reality star Josh Duggar and Michigan State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, the affair wasn't the only problem. Even for Chipolte it is was not the contaminated food.  It was the cover up and the secrets. 

Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. -- Robert Brault

The more lies we make the harder it will be to tell the truth or believe it ourselves.

Once the public, investors, donors, voters and the media find out you are lying and you really are, the best strategy is to admit your mistake, apologize and move on.

The last thing you want is for a scandal to last more than a day.  If it is more than a one-day story that means more stories will be written, more posts will be shared and more often than we like, we will continue to talk about you.

It also will be harder to recover and rebuild your reputation and find the positives out of the negative articles and posts.   

When the evidence is conclusive about an affair, mishandling of funds and failing the public’s trust, the individual should apologize, state what they are going to do to make things better and move on.

Here is my advice to those facing scandals in their own arena:

  • Be supportive of anyone negatively impacted by the issue.
  • Acknowledge the problem as a problem, but have a plan in mind for how you will turn it into an opportunity.
  • If you are implicated but not at fault, distance yourself from the issue and talk about responsibility, being accountable, what public service really means, etc. Shift the focus on values and to the issues you are working on.
  • Assure major supporters you are dealing with the issue and seek their continued support.
  • Find others to support you so you are not alone.
  • Seize the attention and turn it into an opportunity to meet with your supporters. Assure them that you are dealing with the issues but seek their counsel as to how you think it should handled or what you should do.
  • Meet with the community and stay visible – Don’t go into seclusion and never run-a-way from the problem – Address head on.  

After a crisis you should prepare for the next one: 

  • Be Aware – Set up risk management plan. Know of the issues before they become problems.
  • Be Active – Once you are aware of the issue start planning and preparing for an issue to become a problem.
  • Be Responsive – Don't sit and wait for the issue to go away. Acknowledge the problem as a problem and the best way to address it is to get out in front of it.
  • Be Visible – From the moment the issue becomes public, the CEO needs to become the voice and face of the company acknowledge the issue, deal with it and help move forward. 

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