If you thought you wouldn’t get caught, what would you do?
After the resignation of Jim Tressel from Ohio State University, this question should be top of mind, not only for those affiliated with the NCAA, but for those in the communications world as well. In the PR industry, we pride ourselves on truthfully sharing the messages of our clients with the media and consumers.
Or do we?
Did the execs at Burson-Marsteller question the decision to facilitate Facebook’s smear campaign? They must have thought they wouldn’t get caught, right?
Take this idea down to personal relationships. I’m confident President Clinton didn’t think he would get caught – who would jeopardize the presidency?
All of these instances have turned into teaching examples. What happened to the people who didn’t get caught – what lessons have we missed?
It’s fascinating how the negative news stories come so easily, but the positive examples, which can provide equally important learning opportunities, may fall under the radar.
Have you taken direction from a client, supervisor or friend for a task you viewed as less than becoming of your profession, or self? Have you given that direction? Take time to reflect on the decisions you’ve made. It could be as minor as inflating numbers or fabricating interest. But the really big errors of judgment had to start somewhere – you can’t go from 0 to “what were you thinking?!”
If you maintain a straightforward position from the beginning, it won’t be a problem when the potentially dangerous opportunities fall into your lap. Turns out, you’ll be the person not in that situation in the first place.