Professional Crisis Management You’ll Appreciate in Your Time of Need

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Professional Crisis Management You’ll Appreciate in Your Time of Need with Jeff Chatterton

Profession crisis management. You know the old saying, plan for the worst and hope for the best. There is always a crisis just looming around the corner. When that reporter calls or the picture surfaces on Instagram, you need to be ready to address the issue and conduct damage control. It can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. Be prepared

About Jeff

Jeff Chatterton is a high-stakes, risk, and crisis communications specialist and the author of the best-selling book “Leaders Under Fire: The CEO’s Survival Guide to Navigating Corporate Crisis. Chatterton’s work handling high-stakes situations has taken him all over the world – from Sydney to Stockholm, to the Serengeti. 

Whether it’s a chemical spill, a boil-water advisory, or a controversial management decision, Jeff is no stranger to controversy in the public eye and navigating the intense world of highly stressed stakeholders.  He has repeatedly been described as the guy you want in your corner when the spotlights turn on, the Mayor is online one, and CNN is on line two. 

He’s the calm voice who helps clients navigate and promote their version of the truth. This is an especially invaluable skill set when that very same truth is at risk of being crushed by fear and public criticism.


Leaders Under Fire Book Website

Checkmate Public Affairs Website

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Business Podcast » Crisis Management » Professional Crisis Management You’ll Appreciate in Your Time of Need

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Professional Crisis Management You’ll Appreciate in Your Time of Need with Jeff Chatterton

Sun, 6/27 7:08PM • 40:10


crisis, people, day, frankly, company, world, crisis communications, threat, find, biggest, problem, running, bad, roy, business, jeff, happen, clients, reporter, couple


Jeff, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:08

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. This is your host, Roy, of course where the podcast that brings you a wide variety of topics and with a diverse set of guests Well, we can talk about things that maybe you’ve never thought about, or at least give you someone to turn to if you have issues that are keeping you up at night, to not today, we’re we are welcoming Jeff Chatterton. He is a high stakes risk and crisis communication specialist, and the author of the best selling book Leaders Under Fire: The CEO Survival Guide to Navigating Corporate Crisis.

His work handling high-stakes situations has taken him all over the world, from Sydney to Stockholm, to the Serengeti, whether it’s a chemical spill, a boil, water advisory or controversial management, just management decisions, Jeff is no stranger to controversy in the public. in navigating the intense world of highly stressed stakeholders, he has repeatedly been described as the guy you want in your corner, when the spotlights turn on you. The mayor is on line one, and CNN is on line two. He’s the calm voice who helps clients navigate and promote their vision of their version of the truth. This is an especially in valuable skill set, when that very same truth is at risk of being crushed by fear and public criticism. Jeff, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to be with us. We certainly appreciate it.

Jeff  01:37

Hey, you know, typically the standard answer on that is Hey, I’m glad to be here. I’m wondering if anyone ever says you dragged me here? What, uh, you know,

Roy Barker  01:47

the guy standing camera right with the gun? Yeah, this is such a timely situation. I mean, I think, you know, as old as I am, used to, things didn’t make it out, maybe didn’t make it out to the spotlight unless it was a national disaster. But nowadays, I’m telling you, it seems like these little bitty things, you know, they have a way of with social media coming out, getting out in front of us.

Why This Happens So Fast

Jeff  02:16

And it’s a little bit of social media a little bit is the technology a little bit as the culture we live in. But if you think about it, if you’re if you’re in charge of communications for you know, Bob’s ABC manufacturing company, and, and and you get a call from your local NBC affiliate saying, Hey, we understand that your VPS been, you know, doing something ugly and nefarious, you go absolutely, we want to be fully open and transparent with you, why don’t you bring a crew by and at 11.

And, and you know, and you know, so that’s 9am you’ve got an hour and a half to call up your CEO and your president and your shareholders, your your investors and say, hey, we’ve got something bad, we’re dealing with it, you’ve got three, you know, a couple hours to prep, you know, your your, your your mental space, you can clean up the warehouse, you’ve got everything going on. They finally go to air at 6pm that night, and then it goes into the newspaper. The following morning. Yeah, that’s old school. And it’s old school thinking.

And frankly, a lot of the the crisis mechanisms that are out there haven’t been updated, like the idea of a crisis communications plan is laughable. In today’s day and age, because today, you get a call from your local NBC affiliate saying, Hey, your VP has been caught in the men’s room as a four year old or something completely heinous. It’s already on Twitter. It’s already on social media. And I bet that NBC affiliate has a much bigger social media following than you do. Right?

Then it gets retweeted then it gets caught and before you know it, you’ve gone viral and it’s 915 rent, right? That’s the environment we live in and if you’re sitting there in charge of your corporate reputation that old school static crisis communications plan sitting on your mid level managers filing cabinet that you paid $50,000 to some consultant three years ago for it’s not helping you right now.

Roy Barker  04:28

Right? Yeah, in I guess you know, back in the olden days to think media tried to do the verification, let’s make sure this is the real deal because you know, john smith, your your VP is named john smith, but this john smith is somebody else. So you get thrown into the spotlight used to they did a lot of double checking and verification of stories but you know, with the blogger world and well with anybody with a social media account, being able to blow out Anything it’s like, you know, it happens immediately. And there’s not always those checks and balances that maybe there were at

Jeff  05:06

it there, there is no distinction, whether it’s a, whether it’s a reporter, whether it’s a member of the public, whether it’s a blogger or anything else there, it doesn’t matter anymore. They have access to the same tools and the same technology and therefore the same reach than anyone else that. So it’s not the case of the reporters being lazy. It’s a case of the reporters having as much competition in the field as anyone else these days, it’s no longer their domain.

Roy Barker  05:37

Yeah. And they’re also they’re chasing these tighter deadlines as well, which I think, you know, they have to push the envelope to, you know, they want to get the scoop out before the neighboring channel next door here and gets it out as well.

Jeff  05:50

They’re, they’re, they’re facing on unprecedented competence competition for an in an increasingly or a decreasingly small advertising pool. It’s, I feel bad, I would never advise my kids to get into journalism these days. As a former reporter, I would never want people to get into journalism. It’s a dying industry. It’s a sad state of affairs. But at the end of the day, that’s the world we live in.

Roy Barker  06:18

So yeah, and I was gonna ask you, so how did you find yourself in this space? how, you know, kind of, what was your journey? Did? You wake up one day and say, Well, yeah, that

Jeff  06:27

was this. The standard joke about crisis communications is how did you get into crisis PR by accident? Didn’t? Yeah, I was I was a former reporter, and got into politics and ended up being the guy on the ground. In the middle of the biggest environmental catastrophe in Canadian history. It was a little town of 2000 people. 5000 people sorry, and 2000 of them were sick from drinking municipal tap water. And then and that was bad.

But where it got really bad was when they started to die. And it because it wasn’t just a random death that you heard about. It was the town librarian died, the town police officers two year old daughter died, right. And this, this entire town is in chaos. It’s the lead story across Canada, it was actually the lead story across North America for about three days. This is back in 2000. And, and I was the guy on the ground for the entire provincial government, Canadian, so his provincial, which is very similar to a state for those who are unfamiliar. Primarily because I was from up there, that was it. That was my sole credential.

But I ended up being the guy on the ground, handling all of the communications and then ended up getting into the private sector and then a year to the day later, instead of I remember, because instead of having anniversary cake in the boardroom, we sat in the boardroom and watched the Twin Towers come down. And so we were doing a lot of work for the US Navy at that point. We were doing a lot of different crisis communication, II type stuff. And the whole world changed after 911 and 20 years later, I’m I’m still here still running, still plugging away and dealing with a whole new world in which is even more different now in a post pandemic. environment.

Roy Barker  08:40

Yeah. So have you seen these? Have you seen like an increase in the crisises that y’all tend to handle? Or is it pretty much pretty level or, I guess he

Three Types of Crisis

Jeff  08:53

is funny, because the opportunities to get into any of the physical crises are, there’s only so here’s, here’s a little secret for all your listeners out there. There’s only three types of crisis. That’s it. Anyone who tries to overcomplicate This is just trying to overcharge you, but there’s a threat to yourself. You know, if you’re at a cry at a concert, and there’s a bomb, that is a threat to self drinking poisonous tap water, that is a threat to self anything that is going to affect your physical well being or your family’s well being you know, that’s, that’s that’s a problem. There is a threat to your wallet, my credit card information has been hacked or the the CEO of this company has been stealing money. You know, that is a threat to shareholders. You know, that is that is a threat.

But and the third and it’s the biggest one and it’s the the vaguest one is it’s a threat to my feelings. And those are tough. That’s when You know, if someone came out and said something offensive about the LGBTQ community in the middle of Pride Month, you know, whatever, it doesn’t matter what the scenario is, and what I have discovered, because we’re not going to concerts, we’re not going to baseball games, we’re not going to you know, so those crises, they’ve gone down, everyone’s staying at home being safe, you know, wearing masks, you know, but the number of threat to feelings crisis has skyrocketed.

People are, if I can say it, at the risk of being blunt, people are pissy. Yeah. out there. People are angry. Yes. And and we’re seeing that all over the place. And and where I, you, I strongly believe that, that, you know, politicians and all politicians of every stripe, they’re there. They’re fueling the flames. The and this is why I think back last summer, we had riots in the streets, there was a really legitimate issue that was being discussed and regards racial injustice, absolutely. No one wants to take away from that. It’s a very, we need to have a national conversation about the issues of racial injustice in the country.

But, but there were riots, they were people shutting down downtown cores, there were, you know, people physically getting hurt. And I think it’s because everyone’s starting from a place of anger there. There’s just no room for error. And if you’re a company out there, and you thought you had the room to get away with something. It’s an ugly wake up call. When you discover there is no room, there is no benefit of the doubt anymore. That benefit of the doubt is long since evaporated. That’s what I’m finding. Yeah,

Lingering Anger

Roy Barker  12:05

it’s strange. You mentioned that because we, me and my girlfriend, were talking about that. And just the other day that it’s like the, everybody is just angry. And it’s a little different, but like driving on the roads. You know, Friday afternoon, at three o’clock, two drivers pulled off on the shoulder got out, I had a big shootout right there in Friday afternoon traffic. And, you know, one guy in one car had his kids in the car. So you know, I don’t know, the entire circumstance surrounding it.

But people just, you know, when you go into the stores, there’s just this underlying anger for everything gets anyway, it’s kind of crazy. But you know that you mentioned that. So when people feel wronged by a company, I guess with social media, it makes it a lot easier to band together to harm them, economically, by boycotting and different things like that. What are some other I guess, tactics that people are taking to try to take that revenge?

Jeff  13:09

absolutely huge. And everyone’s everyone’s heard about and is complaining about canceled culture. You know, you found out you’ve done something bad from, you know, three years ago.



Sooner Rather Than Later

Jeff  13:24

Sometimes you discover that it wasn’t even a bad thing, but it’s too late. The damage is already done. Because everyone does have a voice and everyone is starting angry. And when you you see an opportunity to to act out to lash out at someone, people are taking it. It’s anyone who’s ever been married knows that sometimes you have full on pitched arguments over something completely stupid. I, you know, the biggest argument I ever had in my married life was over a coach. And for the last 15 years, we had an expression.

It’s not about the coach is it’s not right. But that’s the environment we live in. You have to remember when when we’re dealing with people who are furious over, you know, something that you’ve done. It’s not about the coach, right? It’s not about what they’ve actually done. You have to remember there, you’re starting on the downhill. Yeah. And and unless you’re prepared to acknowledge and communicate appropriately that way. It’s not going to work. It’s it’s a it’s a brand new world. Your your marketing communications team doesn’t have any experience in this. Yeah, it’s a different world out there.

Roy Barker  14:51

Yeah, we’ve kind of expanded, you know, back when I was growing up. It was, you know, the man was the government and maybe the big corporations, but I think that there’s spend so many disenfranchised individuals, you know, from race to religion to age, even that there’s just a, I guess, an undercurrent of that. And that, instead of it being the government and the big corporations that’s kind of trickled down to just anybody in any company, that doesn’t matter the size anymore. If you if you’re looking

Jeff  15:21

for a reason to get offended, you will find it I don’t care how privileged you are. In your head and your prism, you’re being hard done by Yeah. And and it’s not, not our job as communicators, to prove that they’re wrong. Right. Right. And and and that’s where that’s where it doesn’t work. Yeah. What what the world frankly, just needs a bucket ton more of is empathy, right? We just need to be ability to say, Hey, you know what, I’ve asked myself that same question, Roy, I’ve looked in that because I know what’s important to you. Here’s what I’ll tell you. Yeah. Boom, it just, you can take the temperature down. Right?

Getting To The Truth

Roy Barker  16:06

Yeah. And I was reading some of your material. And I told you this pre show that what really struck me about you is that you mentioned that you want to be able to get the truth out which, yeah, that’s a, that’s an awesome quality these days, because so many people aren’t necessarily worried about the truth. You know, we worry about, can we shield this until the new cycle turns over one more time, and then we’re, you know, we’re kind of out of it. At that it’s a smaller scale, but there was a, we’re talking about online ratings. And so, you know, a local company got a bad one.

And instead of coming on and saying, you know, what, we may have had a bad day, what can I do to make this right? He, he actually, now started attacking the guy like, well, you’re an idiot, you’re a crazy customer. And I was like, Whoa, man, we just took, you know, a flame of a match. And we just blew it into this bonfire. Because of that reaction. And I think the word is a good word that you use is empathy. You know, as business people, we have to have empathy for people, because we have bad days, we’re not going to be perfect every time.

Jeff  17:16

And, and, and what, what I think, we forget, is, in the spite of all the anger that’s out there, how tremendously capable the public is of forgiveness if you give them the room to forgive you. It’s usually it doesn’t matter how heinous and offenses, frankly, for the last two years, you’ve had the best if you could, I was joking with clients, I said, you can go out and sacrifice virgins in your parking lot. If people are complaining about it, you just shrug your shoulders and go COVID and they’re gonna go, Oh, my Hey, COVID, right.

Doesn’t matter what you’re doing right now. But you need to give them the room to forgive you. And it’s a one time deal. If you if you have a an amusement park and you kill some some of your passengers, you It’s fine. You can get away with that. You ask for forgiveness, you prove how it’s not going to happen again. The problem is if it ever does happen again, you’re done. Yeah. There it’s that now you don’t have a communications problem. You have a legitimate, toxic right issue.

Roy Barker  18:32

Yeah. So as we come out of COVID, speaking of that, as we come out of this, Are y’all kind of bracing for a lot more activity with this underlying anger, and then everything starting to open back up again, thinking that there may be a lot more going on?

Jeff  18:49

I think what, what we are seeing is what and I’m calling it the sugar effect, you give you give a bunch of 12 year olds, nothing but you know, Kool Aid full of sugar for an afternoon, and then you let them free. They’re gonna go absolutely ballistic. They’re gonna run around and run a marathon on you, right? Until they hit that wall. And then they’re going to crash. And I think, what is what is happening now you take an entire population, you you, you constrain them, you tell them.

You can’t travel internationally, you can’t do this, you’re not allowed to go to professional sports, you can’t go see Taylor Swift and concert, you can’t do all of that. There’s this massive pent up desire to go do all of the things that we haven’t been allowed to do. But then we’re going to hit that wall. And I don’t think a lot of companies have really thought about what that means. In the future. We’ve just spent a year being told it’s dangerous to touch other people. If your business depends on putting, you know, 10,000 people in a room and then sending them out again, you’re going to be okay for a month, maybe even six months.

But Eventually there’s going to be a reckoning, there’s going to be people who are like, yeah, you know what, I don’t necessarily want to go pay money to go see Taylor Swift and concert anymore or that professional corporate networking event or to go see the off track betting horse races or whatever. There’s There’s 1000 different industries that are all all going to be affected by this that haven’t quite figured out how yet.

Ransome Ware

Roy Barker  20:32

One other thing, I was thinking about the, the ransomware, and people getting into other people’s business, and I know that’s not necessarily your thing, but the implications, you know, we had a huge pipeline down here that served like the whole southeast and a lot of the East Coast. And so, you know, I guess it’s kind of a responsibility issue, like where somebody did something bad to them. Sure, we have to realize that, but were they unprepared for

Jeff  21:06

that? And that’s what I tell clients, it doesn’t matter what it is. And I’m familiar with the issue. The the pipeline that got bit where Bitcoin ransom hacked. So so there’s there’s two or three things that right away that come up? Obviously, it’s not their fault that they’ve been hacked, but then you have to be able to address that, is it? Yes. You know, were they on their proper security procedures?

Or did someone basically leave a backdoor open and forget to tell us, and if that’s the case, that informations gonna come out, so you better be prepared to come out and release it in a way, which is open and factual before the media finds it and blows up on you? If you’re the Bitcoin community, how did the US government track that transaction, there’s some real serious unanswered questions that are going to send some earthquakes and tremors throughout the entire crypto community. were completely anonymous, secure transactions just got very public, very public and very recalled. That’s, and for good reason.

Yeah. But that shouldn’t have been able to happen, and they need to be able to address that. And then and then you’ve got all of the other since service providers up and down the East Coast, you know, if you’re, if you’re a gym, that no longer had the ability to heat or cool your building, and you had to close down, you need to be able to talk to your customers and explain it in a way so that they’re not blaming you. But there’s a lot of delicate dancing that goes into these things. You can’t just stand there and point the finger at someone you have to be able to. to own your piece of the pie.

Roy Barker  23:02

Yeah. Yeah. There’s a good book, Ted Koppel wrote about this, the vulnerabilities that we have in a lot of areas, and I just, you know, you kind of hold your breath, thinking, when’s that gonna happen? And you know, are these companies preparing for that? And then, you know, of course, we had our own crisis with the Erekat reliability Council in Texas Back in February, when, you know, we basically lost power for five days. I mean, it was a lot of devastation. And now they’re still fighting through that. I mean, the all the local news channels are still running series on that. Okay.

And here’s the thing, they’ve come out and assured everybody, you know, it was a fluke, there have placed things down for maintenance. But then, a couple weeks ago, it’s 80 degrees, and they start sending out alerts again, hey, you might want to conserve, because we’re in trouble again, we’re in trouble at 80 degrees. And, you know, here we’re, you know, usually into the hundreds very quickly, so that that messaging, you know, it makes people very confused because they didn’t own up and take responsibility from it from the beginning. But then you haven’t really cleaned up their house, but they keep telling everybody Yeah, yeah, everything’s good.

Jeff  24:18

Well, and sometimes what I have found is that it’s the it’s the regulator, especially a public sector government agency, where no one actually wants to take ownership or any sort of level of responsibility. And yeah, I just said what I said, but that’s, that’s my experience. Where now they’re being ultra ultra careful and they don’t want to be blamed if anything goes wrong, but the problem with that is is the your crying wolf, and we saw this, absolutely.

We saw this in the first three months of COVID. Well, don’t do this, don’t do this. Yes, do this. Don’t do this. You know, no, we need to have a clear concise message. Even And and if it’s going to change, that’s okay. But you need to tell people Hey, this is why it’s changed. Here’s what we’ve learned, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s where we’re going to go. Yeah. Right. And, and none of that was happening.

Roy Barker  25:16

So when things go bad, and I don’t want to insinuate that we, the truth doesn’t need to come out, I think the truth always is the best medicine, but how do you balance what you release when you release it? You know, because like you said, you can hold some things back. But if the media gets wind of it, then you kind of get, you know, they catch you on it. So do you just when, as the facts become available? Do you just recommend that, hey, we need to release it and get it all out there?

Jeff  25:50

I’ll give you my favorite consultant answer, which is that depends. Yeah, every situation is a little bit different. And this is why, you know, when we wrote the book, we wrote the book, because we were sick and tired of, of seeing static crisis, communicate, everyone’s every CEO has been told since the dawn of time, oh, there’s, you know, really, really important to have a crisis communication plan, oh, you need to have a crisis plan.

That crisis plan is gonna run you between 10 and $50,000. And it’s going to sit on a mid level managers shelf somewhere, and it’s going to be static, and it’s not going to actually help you if it’s on fire. Every situation is always a little bit different. And what, frankly, makes so much more sense, take all those resources, there’s a better, cheaper, more effective way of doing that. Go find a perspective buddy who can walk you through that? Someone who can sit there and go, Okay, so you’ve got this problem and this problem, this problem.

Alright, so, Roy, the issue here is that if people find out that this hasn’t happened, that’s going to be way worse. And you and maybe considered that at that point, that’s not something that you’re going to find out in the in the crisis communications plan. Alright, so we’re going to take, we’re going to make the decision to take a soccer ball to the face, rather than a bullet to the head. Right? We’re going to go and we’re, you know, and let’s, let’s have that conversation on Thursday of this week. And then and then announce what we’re doing on Tuesday, you know, or, or whatever, but but at no point does, well, let’s just bury it and hope that no one finds out about it.

That’s not allowed to be part of the conversation, because frankly, it doesn’t work. Yeah. It’s just never ever right. Trust me. I get paid for results. I don’t get paid on on some sort of moral high ground. I’m better than you. We all need to tell you. I’m you know what? I mean? Yeah, the truth is a good thing. But frankly, if I’m going to be really blunt, the reason I advocate telling the truth is because if you don’t tell the truth, it is toxic. It is deadly. That’s that’s not anything you can recover from. Yeah, it has nothing to do with the morals of the situation. I’m trying to save my client here. Right.

Roy Barker  28:23

So what are some things? What are some tips, you know, that you could give, you know, give managers of even midsize to smaller companies? And then, you know, I think something you brought up is, I guess, it’s, I guess that’s why a good reason to engage somebody like yourself, as these crisis are as things come up, we can be in communication saying, hey, this thing just happened. What do you think?

Is it going to be something that we need to you know, go ahead and address now can we give it some time? You know, how do we handle each every each and every situation that comes? I mean, hopefully, I don’t know. I was gonna say hopefully we’re running our business well enough that that’s not the case but then sometimes things outside of our control you know, influence that that it’s not that we’re running our business poorly, just in the wrong place that’s routed them.

Jeff  29:14

But yeah, that’s that’s called life. There’s there’s nothing no shame in that. That’s that happens everyone. Yeah, that’s, that’s a that’s one of the services that we decided to start offering a couple years ago is it’s almost like crisis communications, insurance.

Roy Barker  29:28

You know, it’s

Jeff  29:29

a flat rate monthly, God forbid, you actually need us. It’s already paid for looked after you. We’ve got your back. You can call us at 3am on Christmas Day. someone knows you. They know your media market, they know you know what your company does. They can sit down and say, okay, Roy, you’re going to be tempted to say this. Don’t say this right now. What you want to say is this, and I’m going to be on a plane.

Can you come pick me up at Dallas Fort Worth International and I’m going to be there for the next two weeks. We got your back. We’ll get you through this. So that’s that’s been a Big Head. The shameless plug time, though, in terms of helpful tips, go to leisure center, I’ll send you a copy of the book for free. Leaders under fire calm, I’m gonna ask for a couple bucks just for postage and handling. But the book itself, I paid for it, I will happily give it out to the world, I want to make sure that people get that.

The the other stuff that I run into, for heaven’s sake, please make sure someone on your team a is the designated spokesperson be trained in crisis communications, not media training, immediate training is very different than crisis communications training. And see, has the freedom to do their job without running through 65 layers of approval and red tape and bureaucracy right. In the middle of a crisis, there is no excuse for not acting quickly. And you should have someone who has the freedom, the skills and the ability to communicate, and that alone is going to solve two thirds of your problem.

Roy Barker  31:16

Yeah, because kind of building on that is that once you have a crisis, you’re kind of behind the eight ball to start going down through the yellow pages to find if there’s a local crisis management because oh, it’s like, you know, these they expect answers very soon. And I don’t know what’s worse is going on the the evening news, you know, with the statement or the we reached out to them, and there was no,

Jeff  31:39

there was no comment. And, and frankly, it’s this, this was one of the reasons we came up with our insurance policies program called crisis to other because we were sick and tired of seeing good companies get into that same situation, they reach out to their local, you know, marketing company that also does SEO and also does this and also promises to do crisis stuff. And we’re like, Okay, well, good luck. But then they’re charging you 300 500 1000 bucks an hour. And frankly, they’re not incentivized to make the problem go away.

Are you kidding me? They’re milking you for 500 bucks an hour, they need to do a full report, they need to bring on extra people, they need to do all this stuff. And in this spirit of professionalism, and no, no, sometimes good enough has to be good enough. And and it’s it’s the wrong business model. If your crisis guy is charging you hourly, you need to have a real blunt conversation about whose interests they’re truly serving. Right? Yeah

Roy Barker  32:44

Yeah, and it’s important because of the trust factor, I mean, trust in doing business, especially if you’re professional services company. It’s that trust that you have with your clients. And so if a crisis comes up, and there’s no comment, or there’s a crummy comment, then what have you know, how have you affected your clientele? Are they going to be whether you’re right, wrong, or indifferent, it doesn’t matter. It’s a perception.

And sometimes our perception of that company is it gets shaken. And it’s like, well, I don’t trust them enough that I’m not going to do business with them. So you know, this is important. And I really feel like this is going to be even more important. As we start getting back to normal. Just because we have so many disenfranchised people, there’s just so much stuff going on in the world, you can’t escape

Jeff  33:33

Perception is reality, and I hate using political example. But frankly, if if Donald Trump had invented the cure for COVID himself, and was able to prove it in the point where everyone knew that he was right, there are still 50 to 60% of the population out there. That would not do it. Right. Because of perception. Right? You know, there’s a he it’s a problem you brought on himself for the most part, but that’s, that’s, that’s the world we live in. Anyone who says perception isn’t reality isn’t living in reality.

Roy Barker  34:18

Yeah, well, that’s what they always say is my perception is my realities. And it definitely is and you know, like I said, it’s not that we make it sometimes we don’t even have to make a decision guilty. Not guilty. It’s more just that there’s enough stuff swirling around here. We need to just move on so. Yep. Anyway, well, Jeff, we appreciate the time and coming on and discussing this. First off, what is a tool or a habit? What is something that you do daily that adds a lot of value, either professional or personal. You know, as a one thing, I


Jeff  34:56

I’m not as good at it, as I As I used to be, and I keep, I keep trying to build that muscle discovered about three or four years ago, the power of just taking 10 minutes. And, and I don’t know, I don’t even like calling it meditation, it’s it’s just a, a recentering. Like, let let everything go just let it go it come back and hit hit stuff fresh. And I it is one thing that every now and then I need to I need to be better at that, because I’ve seen how powerful that is.

Roy Barker  35:37

Yeah, it’s funny, you mentioned that because I started that probably, I don’t know, two or three months ago. And, you know, I’m not the best, there’s always something swirling around. But what I was telling somebody is like, you kind of have to take the average, like maybe today didn’t work out so good, because I couldn’t quiet the voices. But you know, on average, it’s just sitting there being quiet, listening to yourself, breathe or whatever, you need to tell yourself that it’s powerful. And I highly recommend it. If you don’t do it, you should start and like I said, Be Be kind to yourself that every day is not going to be 100%. All right, so who do y’all like to work with? How can you help them? And then of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you?

Wrap Up

Jeff  36:21

I, you know, as long as you’re committed to actually do the right thing, you know, if you’re, if you’re looking for someone who’s going to, you know, help you you know, lie to the public or to your employees or your stakeholders, I’m not your guy, if you’ve got an ugly situation, or you’re want to be prepared for a situation which hasn’t happened, but may someday, you know, any anyone in the private sector pose, you know, dealing with the public or with their own employees. Absolutely, is the website. And like I said, if you just want a copy of the book for free, leadersunder, will, will will get you there. And it’ll magically show up in your, in your mailbox a couple weeks later, you’ll probably get a bunch emails from me in the meantime. But that’s, that’s the price you pay.

Roy Barker  37:18

Exactly. So, you know, that was one question I had written down. Sorry, I’m gonna digress for just a minute. But you go into a company and kind of do those threat assessments, like look at their business, look at things that have happened in the past and say, Okay, I don’t know, maybe here are three things that may potentially happen. And here’s how that we would want to start that ball rolling, if it happens is, is there any value in that? Or is this stuff on the board

Jeff  37:45

happens happens quite a bit. Um, what I so so when I when I was first getting into the industry, that would be we, you know, crisis communications audit, and it would be 2030 $40,000. And it would take a couple of weeks, and it would do in it. And what I found is, quite frankly, that’s again, it’s a great way for a consultant to get rich, it’s not a good way to prepare for a future crisis. So what I what I tend to do is we’ll go in and we’ll sit down with the client and go, alright, there are three types of crisis. We talked about them, what are those three going to look like?

Chances are good, what are we doing? What are you know, where, where are the fire extinguishers? in our life? Not not necessarily physically, but metaphorically, what can we do? And and what what do we need to do to be prepared to pull that fire extinguisher out? And I find you give me half a day with senior leadership team and and some time with the corporate communications department if that most of the time I work better straight up with the C suite, because they’re the ones who are going to get fired. Yeah, frankly, the company may survive, but the CEO is going to get axed right. And that’s not what anyone wants to see happen.

Roy Barker  39:11

All right, Jeff. Well, thanks so much. Y’all reach out Leaders Under Fire. Don’t Don’t wait till the crisis is upon you to start thinking about this in my advice is you know, get out in front of it. least have a chat with Jeff see how he can you know be there just in case we never know we never we hope it never happens. But unfortunately, things do happen when we least expect it so

Jeff  39:34

happy to have a conversation on non-threatening non-fattening don’t bite unless requested.

Roy Barker  39:40

Alright, well, thanks a lot listeners. That’s going to do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. You can of course find us at we’re on all the major social media platforms, Instagram, probably where we hang out the most also on all the major podcast platforms at Stitcher, Google Spotify if we’re not a one that you listen to please reach out we’d be glad to get it out and until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Business Podcast » Crisis Management » Professional Crisis Management You’ll Appreciate in Your Time of Need