The 2013 Business Crappies: Kenneth Cole Memorial Inappropriate Response to Current Events Award

The2013  Kenneth Cole Memorial Inappropriate Response to Current Events Award goes to 
a three way tie of breakfast offenders!
Marriott, Epicurious, and Kellogg
In November, Kellogg’s cereal brands misstepped while  promoting their “Give a Child a Breakfast” campaign, which donates money to school breakfast programs. Boy, did they misstep hard… with this tweet:

People were disgusted […]

Announcing the 2013 Crappies Business Award Winners!

As the year draws to a close and the a new one begins, we like to recognize organizations and people who did their best to make us cringe, wince, and facepalm this year. Yes, my friends, these are The Crappies Award Winners.

Let’s see who is taking home a golden […]

The 2013 Business Crappies: “Passing the Buck” Business Award

The 2013 “Passing the Buck” Crappy Award goes to ….LululemonLululemon has had a rough year. The athletic clothing manufacturer started the year by recalling a line of yoga pants that were unintentionally see-through — but they seemed to manage the crisis well. Then their CEO resigned. Then stories started […]

How to Panic, Pass the Buck, and Alienate Customers: McDonald’s Style

After another embarrassing front page gaffe, McDonald’s has taken down its McResource Line employee site. And issued one of the worst statements possible by way of explanation.
“We have offered the McResource program to help our valued McDonald’s employees with work and life guidance created by independent third party experts. […]

Winning in a Crisis: How Sonic Built Trust, Created Loyalty, and Neutralized a Racist PR Nightmare

We spend a lot of time explaining case studies of what NOT to do – just last week, we discussed How McDonald’s Convinces Employees It Doesn’t Care.  It gets frustrating. So when a company responds to a crisis with empathy, skill, and honesty, I can’t help but crow.

And that’s exactly […]

Cracked Eggs: Why You’re Screwing Up Your Employees – and How to Stop

“Training” is a horribly misused word. I hear it thrown around in board rooms and staff meetings every week – and best I can tell,  the people using it think training means “explaining stuff to the people who work for me.” They think it’s teaching a class, having a […]

Email & Micro-transitions: The Stress and Time Saving Secret

When I meet an overwhelmed entrepreneur, the first thing I look for is e-mail backlog. E-mail is most people’s first resort for communication, and – like paper mail – most people have crappy systems for handling it. It grows and grows until they can’t find e-mails, struggle to keep track […]

Efficiency Means Saving Hours, Not Minutes

When I worked in financial counseling, I often counselled people who spent hours each week clipping coupons and pinching pennies to save $20 on their grocery bill. When I looked at their bills, I’d discover that they were being overcharged for their car insurance or cell phone bill. Most […]

Free Crisis Management Tools: Table Top Exercises

Just after 9/11, Frank helped a community organization in the DC area develop a disaster preparedness plan.  The group coordinated turning neighborhood churches into shelters and coordination centers in the event of an attack or natural disaster. The leadership was completely volunteer – they all had regular day jobs […]

Crisis Management is Free: The Awesome Problem-Solving Tool You Already Have

People have this misconception that crisis management is about complicated tools and expensive training – as if the only way to solve complex systemic problems is with another complex system.Aaaaaaaand it drives me crazy. See, that’s kind of like trying to treat a burn with boiling water: it never […]

The Dirty Truth: Why Leadership is a Problem-Solving Handicap

Years ago, my husband Cameron was a lowly Private First Class going through his initial military training. He’d spent two years going from training school to training school, staying at the same rank the whole time. After more than two years in the military, he was still a PFC […]

The Dumbest Thing Young Professionals Do (Podcast)

The dumbest thing I see young professionals doing is refusing to admit when they don’t have an answer. It’s reputation suicide – and it’s a growing epidemic in the under-30 crowd.  And it’s perfectly understandable, because most of them have spent 4 years in college – where most students […]

Why Do People Lie So Much? (Podcast)

We’ve talked a lot about why people lie – and oh do they lie – in a crisis. In this episode we discuss hoe lies are rarely malicious – they’re motivated by fear. Frank and I have never dealt with a crisis that didn’t involve some form of dishonest. […]

Case Study: Why Information Leaks to the Press – Podcast Episode 6

When a scandal hits the news, the story you’re reading is never the whole story — and that’s not an accident. Information leaks for a reason. Anytime anyone shares any kind of information with another person, it’s because they hope it will help them somehow. They want to make […]

Five Ways People Hide Bad News – Podcast Episode 5

It’s human nature to cover up bad news. Luckily, how people cover up that bad news is also human nature. Learn the five ways people, media outlets, and politicians try to hide bad news and distract you from learning the truth in a crisis: Flooding, Burying, Blocking Fact Checking, Divertion, and […]

Real Crisis in History (or, Ben Franklin was a Jerk) – Podcast, Episode 4

Remember that time Benjamin Franklin convinced thousands of people that one of his competitors was dead just to boost sales of Poor Richard’s Almanac? Except the guy was very much alive? No? Well… he did. Franklin publish his almanac of predictions under the pseudonym “Richard Saunders.” And in the […]

Making Mistakes, Telling Tales, & Sinking Ships (PODCAST!)

Screen capture of the U.S.S. Secota sinking, via YouTube Last week, Frank told me about one of his darkest times in the military – a tragedy he could have prevented with the right information. See, back in the 80s, Frank worked supervised repairs on a tugboat named the U.S.S. Secota. […]

Oreos and Jedi: How to Look Smart When Someone Challenges Your Data

So, Nabisco just got publicly shamed by a bunch of high schoolers. Dan Anderson, a consumer math teacher in upstate New York, was trying to help his students get a better grasp of the subject with a hands-on experiment: determining whether or not Double Stuf Oreos really contain double […]

Sales Smart and Customer Foolish: Understanding Spin & PR

I have a built in BullS#!* Meter in my brain. My husband loves to tease me about it. Basically, I have this alarm system in my head that tells me when someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes or dodge a question.

I wasn’t born with the […]

Emotions and Crisis: What They Really Mean

Frank and I see our clients at their most vulnerable – their fears, their weaknesses, their hopes, their mistakes – and we get close.
We get emotionally invested.
When one of them hurts, we hurt, too.

That’s what surprised me the most when I started counseling and consulting – that despite all […]