Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’
Lessons on dealing with a crisis are always helpful, especially when your company’s reputation is in jeopardy. I found this list particularly worthwhile because it was written by Sallie Krawcheck, one of the most senior women on Wall Street. I heard her speak at a Forbes conference years ago and really enjoyed her tales of juggling work, family and husband. She was very down-to-earth, approachable and humble. She recently wrote on her LinkedIn page about the lessons she learned from leading through various crises and as she says, watching others make career-ending mistakes handling crises. Here is a brief synopsis of what she advises:
1. Be heroically available. I wholeheartedly agree with her that there are times when executives wish they could just close the door and wait until a crisis fades. We all also know that this strategy does not work and rarely happens. She mentions a colleague who hosted a call for Financial Advisors when investments had gone south and how he said he’d stay on the call until every last question was answered which lasted late into the evening.
2. Allow people to ask real questions, even if you don’t want to hear them. We have all been in meetings when no one wants to ask the hard question and most people just throw softballs. Leaders have to create an environment where the hard questions can be asked and there are no repercussions. Sometimes I advise a leader to ask the question himself, provide the answer and get on with it. Once the question is asked, others might have the courage to speak.
3. Frequency matters more than perfection. Krawcheck mentions how her management team had a call at the start and end of every day when the economy was tanking a few years ago. She says that some of the calls were not all that good and packed with answers but at least everyone knew they would be getting an update on a regular basis.
4. On your message: Repeat it, repeat it, repeat it. And do in different media. That is dear to my heart because those of us in public relations understand that to reach people who need certain information, you have to reach them where they are. And they are often not where you think they are. Some people read company emails, some ignore them. And as Krawcheck says, some people are readers and some are listeners. Some are in facilities where there is no easy access to electronic information. Make it easy to find out what needs to be known.
5. Bring in people who know more than you do or provide a different perspective. I found this one unusual since so many companies keep all their information and goings-on close to the vest. And rarely do they want to admit that they might not know something. She mentions how during the recent downturn, her company brought in some experts to bring a new voice into the conversation even if they were saying the same thing she was saying. This is good counsel.
6. Let them see you sweat, but don’t let them see you tremble. Another piece of good advice and a good way to end this post. It is okay to work super hard and show that you are not home for dinner with the family night after night when crisis is on your doorstep but make sure that your team does not see you scared. Being confident “goes a long way.” Yes indeed.
A Wall Street reputation study among marketing and communications executives at financial services firms was released this week. When asked to rate themselves, only 34% gave themselves an above average grade while 9% gave themselves a grade of ”perfect.” Wonder who those 9% are? The remainder — 57% – gave themselves average or below. The survey by Makovsky and Company had some intriguing results:
- 53% said that Occupy Wall Street impacted their business
- 71% said that Occupy Wall Street will last beyond the upcoming election
- 38% were surprised by Occupy Wall Street (time to be better prepared)
- 74% believe that increased regulation of the industry will help to improve financial service firms’ reputations and rebuild trust with customers
- 81% are worried about negative perceptions that exist about executive compensation
- somewhat more than 40% believe that social media has a positive impact on their company’s reputation; over half only perceive a neutral effect (fair enough)
So what’s a company in the financial sector to do? According to the findings, executives believe that management leadership, quality products and service, and a focus on reputation management will help restore reputation.
The killer finding is that 96% of executives agree that the industry brought the problems on themselves. You don’t get too much higher than 96%. That’s a outright acknowledgement.
Of course, today I saw an article saying that college students are still dying to get into the financial services industry. Many are waiting to hear news of summer internships and they are eager to make their way to the the cavernous alleys of Wall Street. So be it. However, I do think that this is the time for financial services firms to hunker down and repair their reputations for the long-term. I vote “yes.”