I am an advocate of that “go for it” type drive. And, then beg forgiveness later if things fall apart.
In this case – that simply wouldn’t work.
Working with an organization a new marketing executive thought it would be fun to choreograph an entire marketing video around the hit song, Royals, by Lorde. Everyone from the president of the company to every staff member, lip sync’d their part and there were some very creative video moments included. Then, as they went to upload it onto their social networks they got the copyright infringement slap directly from Facebook.
All I could wonder is how does a new marketing executive come back from all of that? Imagine the time, the investment to have someone professionally film it, and then the money spent. I also wondered why no one along this journey stopped to discuss or at least be cautious about copyright infringement and what that could mean to the company.
In this case, that saying about begging forgiveness later doesn’t work.
And, that other saying about killing the messenger isn’t true either.
It’s tough to be the naysayer or the cautious one when everyone is hyped up on excitement and bought into doing something.
How can you deliver the bad news without it reflecting bad on your personal brand?
Remember, these three steps and include them when you have to be the bearer of bad news.
1. Be clear and package your personal brand with the benefit.
Answer this question: How does the company benefit by knowing this news (the pitfalls, the problem, the concerns) ahead of time?
Then, plant that in your word garden.
For example, in this case you could lead in with, “As someone who wants to be sure our reputation is not seen negatively”; or “As someone who is focused on making sure our integrity is not questioned”; or “As someone who cares about the company and all of our team members”. What you’re doing in each statement is:
a. Naming the benefit
b. Positioning yourself with why you’re being a good steward of this benefit.
c. Packaging your personal brand with the benefit.
2. Be brief and focused on the ramifications.
How will this hurt the company or jeopardize the individuals in the company? Be brief and concise in your explanation of this.
If you become long winded or assess blame, this can become a slippery slope that could reflect negatively on your personal brand.
3. Deliver suggestions for solutions.
It is easy to complain. It’s easy to point out faults. Blame often comes naturally. And, whining is definitely a personal brand killer.
When you come in with solutions, you raise yourself above others. It’s average to be able to identify a problem. It stands out when you can deliver some viable solutions and provides people an opportunity in that to have the ability to sample your character and competence.
Keep these three in mind if you ever have to stop a project in its tracks and be the one who looked ahead, saw the pitfalls and notified others of the potential dangers and issues.
And when you do have to use these three practices, keep in mind that:
The tone of how you approach this matters. This is not an “I gotcha” moment. How this news is delivered is a part of the package.
The cadence of your delivery of these three items matters, too. Remember, if you’re concerned sound concerned. If you sound giddy that you caught someone doing something wrong or arrogant and triumphant as if you’ve come to save the day, all that will do is tarnish your personal brand.