DO THE RIGHT THING
People make mistakes. Why? Because we’re human. And according to the United States Supreme Court, so are corporations.
Over the past several years the courts have been expanding and defining the rights of corporations. For example, corporations are now allowed to spend money on political campaigns, and they can even choose to refuse federal mandates because of religious views.
By definition, a corporation is a number of persons united in one body for a purpose. Does that bring clarity to the reason why companies often royally f*ck up? You betcha! When there’s an entity created and run by a bunch of humans, that entity is bound to make mistakes… and BIG ones.
No matter the size, even if you’re one single person or a corporation with millions of employees, morals can get messy and, for that, we have just one piece of advice: Do the right thing. Period.
Let’s look at the largest cyber security breach of all time. In 2014, Yahoo was hacked by a “state-sponsored” hacker who stole more than 500 million users’ names, emails, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords. What Yahoo didn’t do… was TELL people for two whole years. Just last November, while negotiating an acquisition deal with Verizon, it was disclosed that several persons were aware of the breach in 2014, but had claimed they did not know the “true” extent of the hacker’s reach. Of course, and rightfully so, the $4.8 billion deal with Verizon is in limbo and Yahoo’s sales have plummeted.
Because the whole truth can be complex or multiple parties are to blame, senior leadership will often take cover in a mahogany room with their lawyers, searching for loopholes and wordsmithing the situation to save face. Think about it this way, when a brand’s reputation is at stake, it’s the same as a sole individual’s. You’re considered untrustworthy by your friends and that logo you paid a pretty penny for is tainted.
What senior leadership should be doing is telling the truth and attempting to correct the mistake ASAP. Lies will lead to more lies, so get your story straight (the real story) and fix it fast. Make sure your audience knows how you plan to fix it and the timeline for remedying it. Being honest and transparent will create a positive pivot point for your company. If you attempt to fake it ’til you make it, the internet trolls will find you and they will let everyone know. And no one wants that. Except for the trolls.
Do the right thing.