Apparently, it is impossible to police every member of your company when it comes to stopping rude, disgusting, or ridiculous behavior. I think it’s fair to say that no matter what policies your management establishes, there are some people who remain too depraved or too stupid, or simply have too much time on their hands.
And, I don’t mean entry-level employees, junior managers, the wacky creative people, or the account executives on the road. Those are the usual suspects when we think of poor social media behavior, or the dark elves who forward off-color jokes and send pornography from company owned computers. We constantly lecture low-level and mid-level employees about what you may email or post, since everything becomes public at some point in time.
Of course, pundits like me worry aloud that your personal brand is permanently corrupted because you’re tagged dancing with a bear in Cabo.
They walk among us
Well, stupid is an equal opportunity employer. Sometimes, it’s the guy at the very top that ruins it for everyone. Consider Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Company – at least until last Friday.
Michaels created a “fraternity house” culture. Sounds like a fun big brand to link up with your personal brand, huh? No. At least not for women, and anyone with a sense of decency – much less the laws about creating a hostile work environment.
Just in case the Tribune Company, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for two years and is crushed by a failed $8.2 billion buyout, doesn’t have enough real problems, we now have bad behavior at the very top, dripping down.
“A top lieutenant sent an internal memo with an Internet link featuring a racy video that included a bare-breasted woman pouring booze down her chest. The executive, Lee Abrams, resigned as Tribune Co.’s chief innovation officer,” per the Huffington Post, Friday, October 22, 2010.
With a title like “chief innovation officer,” you’d guess that social media and marketing and online distribution had to be part of Abrams’ assignment. Well, he clearly understands the concept of an email campaign. He just has no judgment when it came to the content of an email campaign.
The Tribune Co. publishes the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and owns more than 20 radio and television stations.
Here’s why Michaels and Abrams ruin it for all o f us. Our news outlets are shrinking. Every major news operation has cut back and many have folded. That means we know less and less about what is going on around the world, in our own countries and in our communities.
Could there be a worse time to put the US on a news deprivation diet? No. In the face of the historic credit meltdown that we served up for the world and the evils we face: terrorism in Europe, genocide in the Congo, someone who claims she was a witch before running a neck and neck race in Nevada with the current Senate Majority Leader in the US Congress…..well, the list is pretty long when it comes to what we need to know that we can’t see with our own eyes. That would require news, real news.
I was hoping that Jon Stewart, tweets in Iran, and the Ashton Kutcher-Demi Moore family were not going to be the funnels through which I understood the world.
But with morons at the top of two major US newspapers sending pornography to each other rather than working on staying solvent, I’m now getting my news from Tweetdeck and the Daily Show.
Personal brands: you are often accused (sometimes by me) of forgetting how you hurt your reputation as well as the companies you work for, when you act imprudently.
That doesn’t mean your brand has to include prude. It just has to rise about emailing pornography, apparently.