Did Brian Lie By Accident? Can Someone Lie By Accident? — Jim Lukaszewski on Brian Williams

Jim L. is one of the very best strategic counselors. He offers this analysis. [To comment: Larry at LarryLitwin dot com.]

Did Brian Lie By Accident? Can Someone Lie By Accident?

Look, liars always know. In more than 40 years of working with organizations, institutions, senior people, businesses, agencies and the news media through an extraordinarily broad spectrum of problems and serious circumstances, I have yet to meet anyone who accidentally lied.

Has anybody reading this ever accidentally lied?

Our culture is full of professional and serial liars. Among the biggest are the entertainment industries, including the news.

  1. Lying on the face of it: When is the last time – if there ever was a time – when the movie you saw at the theater matched its description in the newspaper and the promotional hype? These are deceptions at best, lies at worst.
  2. Deception: For that matter, live theater never tells the truth either about the programs you’re about to pay big bucks to see. They lie by omission, commission, intentional negligence – i.e. failing to tell you that the “romantic comedy” you’re about to see has three murders, two rapes, suicide and a child molestation.
  3. Dishonesty: Breaking News warnings . . . On CNN the sign never goes off despite the fact that they use the same video footage and repeat stories hundreds of times a day. Much of the footage they use runs for days, and we never know when news clips were produced, originally shown, or how many times the clip has been replayed. This is deceptive and unethical.
  4. Fabricating news when there isn’t any: This is extremely obvious when a news organization tosses on a bunch of reporters and paid consultants (everybody’s paid in television) rather than actual news subjects, victims or individuals directly connected or affected by the story material being discussed. Hoe many experts does it take in a day to repeatedly say, “They are still searching for the black boxes.”
  5. Exaggeration: Tiny, inconsequential news stories are blown out of proportion or attaching false urgency to stories that have actually played out and been resolved hours, sometimes days, before.
  6. Politics: Don’t get me started.

These are just samples of well-known lying habits we and our culture tolerate every day.

Liars and fakers always know. When they are caught and confronted, they always cry. Yes, people can be naive, simpletons, stupid or victims . . . But there is something in human nature that sets off the lie alarm or the perpetrator alert. Whether you are nine-years-old or 90-years-old, most of us can spot a lie and a liar, detect a fake and a faker.

Don’t start crying for Brian Williams. He is rich and will be richer. He is at that altitude where no matter what you do, you’re going to get paid for coming, for staying, for succeeding, for failing, for keeping your mouth shut, and for leaving, quietly.

An old friend of mine was in the FBI for a dozen years in New York and the Caribbean. He retired as the head of security for a Fortune 250 company. He used to tell me an FBI truism about criminals; what criminals learned quickly was that it was always better to commit a large crime. The burglars, the bullies, the petty thieves are crushed by the criminal justice system. Commit an important crime, and you get better treatment, cells, lawyers, press coverage, better meals, and you’re protected from the riffraff.

The same rules apply for celebrity misbehavior, criminal or not, especially the media coverage part. Media loves criminals and important people who do really stupid things, then behave badly.

The most powerful indicator of being a perpetrator rather than being guiltless or a victim is silence. Silence is a perfect indicator of prior toxic behavior.

The person, organization, business, agency, movement, or foundation with integrity speaks up, stands up, and fesses up immediately. In fact they seek forgiveness immediately.


Nine Steps to Rebuilding and Rehabilitating Trust

Seeking Forgiveness is society’s requirement for relationship, trust, and credibility restoration. Adverse situations using this template are remediated faster, cost a lot less, are controversial for much shorter periods of time, suffer less litigation, and help the victims come to closure more quickly. Obtaining forgiveness involves completing the nine steps below. To achieve success in the shortest possible time, these steps should be completed as quickly as possible: like start them all today. Skip a step or be insincere and the process will be incomplete and fundamentally fail.

Step #1. Candor: Outward recognition, through promptly verbalized public acknowledgement, that a problem exists; that people or groups of people, the environment, or the public trust are affected; and that something will be promptly done to remediate the situation.

Step #2. Extreme Empathy/Apology: Verbalized or written statement of personal regret, remorse, and sorrow, acknowledging personal responsibility for having injured, insulted, failed or wronged another, humbly asking for forgiveness in exchange for more appropriate future behavior and to make amends in return.

Step #3. Explanation: (no matter how silly, stupid, or embarrassing the problem-causing error was). Promptly and briefly explain why the problem occurred and the known underlying reasons or behaviors that led to the situation (even if we have only partial early information).

Step #4. Affirmation: Talk about what you’ve learned from the situation and how it will influence your future behavior. Unconditionally commit to regularly report additional information until it is all out or until no public interest remains.

Step #5. Declaration: A public commitment and discussion of specific, positive steps to be taken to conclusively address the issues and resolve the situation.

Step #6. Contrition: The continuing verbalization of regret, empathy, sympathy, even embarrassment. Take appropriate responsibility for having allowed the situation to occur in the first place, whether by omission, commission, accident, or negligence.

Step #7. Consultation: Promptly ask for help and counsel from “victims,” government, the community of origin, independent observers, and even from your opponents.

Directly involve and request the participation of those most directly affected to help develop more permanent solutions, more acceptable behaviors, and to design principles and approaches that will preclude similar problems from re-occurring.

Step #8. Commitment: Publicly set your goals at zero. Zero errors, zero defects, zero dumb decisions, and zero problems. Publicly promise that, to the best of your ability, situations like this will be permanently prevented.

Step #9. Restitution: Find a way to quickly pay the price. Make or require restitution. Go beyond community and victim expectations, and what would be required under normal circumstances to remediate the problem.

One thing I’ve learned over my career is that if you begin the nine steps immediately when adverse circumstances occur, things will get better by the day after tomorrow. In the meantime, things will get worse for a while before they get better, no matter what you are going to do.

If you would like to talk more about seeking forgiveness, Jim can be reached at jel@e911.com. [To comment: larry at LarryLitwin dot com]

4 traits of great PR pros

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

From Ragan’s PR Daily

by Tor Constantino (Jan. 26, 2015)

Every leader, entrepreneur and business owner needs to communicate their visions to stakeholders.

If a vision is complex or the contextual environment is noisy, it’s a good idea to hire a PR adviser to help get the message out.

The table stakes for a good PR practitioner are pretty standard: deep media relationships are a plus; experience working in a newsroom is helpful; strong writing skills are mandatory; managing and developing a solid team is a must; event management is good; social media savvy is a requirement.

Good PR personnel need to have each of those boxes checked, but there are four additional skills that separate great PR professionals from good ones.

1. Speaking truth to power.

Most people are intimidated by power and tend to fear those individuals who are higher on the organizational hierarchy. Surprisingly, that fact holds true even for people who already hold positions of influence and power, such as corporate or senior VPs. Higher-ups often intimidate them.

On more than one occasion I’ve witnessed every direct report of a CEO refuse to share with the leader some kind of bad news because they were afraid the top executive would figuratively “kill the messenger.”

The best PR folks need to be fearless in those meetings, willing to deliver the bad news as well as a positive strategy to respond or overcome the stated challenge.

Related: Why Investor Relations and Public Relations Should Work in Harmony

2. Ability to compartmentalize issues.

This is tougher to achieve than it seems. Every organization faces some type of crisis at some time or another. The challenge occurs when multiple crises occur and begin to overlap each other.

Some issues, such as civil lawsuits or regulatory investigations, become protracted and extend over years like a smoldering fire you can’t extinguish. Other issues, such as a data breach, flare up to intense heat instantly like a grease fire. They seem to go dormant, only to flare up later when least expected.

These critical situations require messaging and affected audiences to be effectively managed. The best PR advisors can “strategically ignore” those important issues when the immediate urgency of the crisis subsides. The issues are still there, but the expert communicators are able to still operate at peak performance and deliver day-to-day results, despite the slow or hot burn of an unyielding crisis event.

3. Seeing around corners.

When it comes to media relations, this particular skill takes years to develop. The best PR advisers in this regard tend to be former journalists, editors or producers.

It’s tricky to predict the exact trajectory a story will take prior to its publication or broadcast. However, the most effective PR counselors have a strong idea based on the type of questions asked, the manner and tone in which those questions were presented, other “news makers” the reporter interviewed to round out the story, and a good understanding of how the journalist covered the topic in the past.

Those insights equip the adviser to appropriately establish the expectations of the leadership team to help prepare for the story’s tone, message, impact and relevance. It also helps the internal team develop a ready response if needed.

Related: The Venerable Press Release Remains the Cornerstone of Public Relations

4. Powerfully persuading.

Leaders and entrepreneurs crave control, but one of the things they cannot control completely is the media coverage they engender. Whenever a negative story appears about an organization or executive, the nearly universal reaction is to issue a press release or letter to the editor refuting the “errors” of the article.

There is a time and place for that type of response, but it’s rare.

The direct response from the company tends to land flat and typically emboldens hardcore reporters to continue squeezing for more of the story. I personally know a handful of investigative reporters from my journalism days who kept binders on their desks of those flaming corporate responses. The innately contrarian DNA of journalists tends to view these authoritative responses as evidence they’re doing something right.

The best PR advisers are able to persuade the executive team from taking that course of action, or at least consider other options, such as enlisting a trusted third-party to respond on the organization’s behalf.

If you’re a leader or entrepreneur who wants the best reputation management to protect your organization’s brand, make sure you raise these areas with your communications advisor to help determine if the individual is great or merely good.

Related: Generate Great PR on a Shoestring Budget With These 5 Tips

Tor Constantino is a former journalist and best-selling author, blogger and PR pro. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Copyright © 2014 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

Dale Carnegie — How To Build Employee Loyalty

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

For more information contact: Anita Zinsmeister <anita.zinsmeister@dalecarnegie.com>

This e-tip is sent to 30,790 subscribers every Friday. If you know someone who can use this tip, feel free to forward it to those in your network. To leave the list or change your e-mail address, scroll to the bottom.

Dale Carnegie e-Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President of Dale Carnegie®Training of Central & Southern New Jersey 

How To Build
Employee Loyalty

  •  Word count for this issue: 684
  • Approximate time to read: About 2.7 minutes @ 250 words per minute

In the good old days, it was commonplace for employees to dedicate their entire careers to one company.  You’d hear stories all the time about how an ambitious “lifer” started out in the mailroom, for example, and worked his or her way up the corporate ladder to VP, or even CEO. Unfortunately, those days are over.


Today’s employees, especially young 20- and 30-somethings, commonly job-hop in an effort to get ahead.  And even older workers aren’t hanging around for the gold watch anymore.  The mass layoffs and benefit cuts in some of the country’s biggest companies in the past few years have left many workers wondering if loyalty or length of service with one company really matters.  In fact, a Careerbuilder.com report found that 76% of full-time workers would leave their current workplace if the right opportunity came along.


So as an employer, how can you keep your best hires from jumping ship?  The following are a few tips to consider.


6 Tips For Building Employee Loyalty:


  1. Know Who You’re Hiring –Retaining good employees starts with hiring the best workers for the job.   You can tell a lot about a potential hire from his or her job history.  How many years did they work in their previous positions?  Is there a pattern of moving from job to job?  Ask for personal and business references and actually call them.  The internet and social media can also be great sources for information about potential hires.  If you find inappropriate posts or complaints from a potential hire’s former employer, for example, that candidate is probably not the best choice for your company.


  1. Have A Good Onboarding Process In Place –You only have one chance to make a good first impression.  Create a formal onboarding process where a designated employee greets new hires and shows them the ropes.  Consider including a new-hire page on your company’s intranet, where important benefits information and tax forms can be accessed easily.  Set up group meetings so employees can quickly learn their role within your company and meet other key players.  Ensuring new hires feel welcomed and part of the team is the first step to building loyalty.


  1. Be Family Friendly –Employees are people with lives and families, just like yours.  Show that you care about their happiness both in and outside of the office by adopting a family friendly work environment.  Offer child-care benefits or flexible work schedules that allow employees to meet family obligations.  This will show that you value your employees and don’t think of them as merely “paper-pushers.”


  1. Invest In Your Employees –If you invest in your employees’ futures, they will be more likely to invest in yours.  Show that you care about their long-term goals by offering benefits such as a matching 401k plan and other retirement packages.  Offering opportunities for relevant continuing education and job training also shows your commitment to employees’ career growth and success.


  1. Recognize Achievements –Reward and recognize employee achievements often.  Employees want to know that you appreciate their hard work.  Positive feedback encourages employees to keep working hard toward a common goal.  Provide opportunities for employees to work on highly visible projects that showcase their talents.  This will encourage workers to take pride in the value they offer to your company.


  1. Ask Employees For Their Input– Create a checks and balances system by allowing employees opportunities to evaluate their management team.  This can be done through questionnaires or impromptu discussions or staff meetings.  Immediately address situations where managers are not performing up to par or are bringing down the morale of the team.


Executive Summary:  In today’s competitive job market, highly competent employees are less likely to remain in a position where they feel dissatisfied or unappreciated.  Ensure your best performers don’t feel taken for granted.  Benefits such as pension plans, ongoing education and job training, child-care, and flextime, will go a long way in showing you value your employees.  And when employees feel valued, they are far more likely to become loyal, long-term contributors to your company’s overall success.

Quote of the Week: “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them.  If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.”

– Lee Iacocca            

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]

Relevant Topic for This Time of Year — Snow Shoveling

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com] This is from the National Safety Council and is targeted at all adults.

While shoveling snow can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for optimistic shovelers who take on more than they can handle. The National Safety Council offers the following tips to help you get a handle on safe shoveling:

  • Individuals over the age of 40, or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
  • Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
  •  Dress warmly. Remember that extremities, such as the nose, ears, hands and feet, need extra attention during winter’s cold. Wear a turtleneck sweater, cap, scarf, face protection, mittens, wool socks and waterproof boots.

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]