Conspiracy to hide the truth is not an effective form of crisis management. Telling a lie is not an effective form of crisis communications.
When those who should be leaders all decide that telling the truth could be harmful to an institution, and hide it, you can bet their bad ethics will catch up with them eventually.
Those with good ethics in the room will often argue their point, yet eventually be dismissed by those in favor of a colorful cover up of the facts.
The men and women who have a strong conscience and need to tell the truth, will disclose to others their dissatisfaction with the final decision. In time, their conscience weighs on them and they leak the truth. Often, in a high profile crisis like the NFL is facing, someone will leak the truth to a reporter. Sometimes it happens in an official media interview. Sometimes it happens in a tip.
It appeared ESPN was on the path to learning the truth about what Roger Goodell and the Ravens knew about the Ray Rice video. Don Van Natta, Jr. of Outside the Lines and ESPN spent 11 days interviewing 20 sources of team officials, current and former league officials, players and friends of Ray Rice. ESPN reported a pattern of misinformation and misdirection by the Ravens and the NFL.
I’m waiting to see who is telling the truth.
When you get called in to offer expert advice in a crisis to those in leadership positions, please stand by your ethics. Stand up… and be willing to walk out and walk away from your job when you see a failure of ethics.
By Gerard Braud