Oil’s New Lessons
Since posting my last article, I have been hit with many questions from readers about what BP should be doing to protect themselves and build on their reputation. Right now they have the President of the United States beating them up verbally at every chance and the media starting to find ways that BP is not working to stop the spill from hitting the beaches along the east coast.
It is a tough situation. One one hand, they are at fault. They drill for oil as part of their operations and spills happen. One the other hand, they want to survive the crisis and grow their brand. The marketing they have put out since to spill has not helped. Stodgy old business-types yammering on your TV about how much they are doing when the oil is still spilling as a bad way to save your reputation. People don’t care about what you are having other do. They care about getting the job done. A better way of building your band would be to show rather than say what you are doing.
If I was CEO, I would be out on the beach before daybreak with a bucket and gloves picking up globs of oil. I would be part of a very large group of people who normally sit in the BP offices working harder than anyone. You want to show you care and that you mean what you say. Show it…and shut up.
The media is all about image and if you want to be seen as someone who wants to get your business back on track, then get in there and get your hands dirty. Saying that you just want to get “your life back to normal” (or whatever the quote is) is the opposite of getting the track back under your business.
Be a part of the solution. The greatest asset you have in a time of severe crisis is to stop talking and start leading by example. Do you think CEO Tony will help himself and go clean up the oil? I would bet he never even thought about getting a bit dirty in order to stop the criticism being shoveled at BP.
As for the President of the United States shaking his fist at BP, that is another lack of leadership that we do not have space for here. Again, it is about acting now and talking later.
As for you and your business, you do not need a major crisis to have the need to get your hand dirty. If morale drops, get on the front line and show the team that you want to be there with them. Your business growth is the distance of your front counter – from the customer to your cash register. Stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. The more you are seen the more you will change – dramatically change - the character of your business. You get credibility by being credible. Walk the walk FIRST…let others talk about you by the example you set.