Well everything hit the fan yesterday, and we have had wall-to-wall coverage of the Wikileaks in the diplomatic world. If you love titillation and scandal, things just couldn’t get any better. If you believe that these things should not have been leaked, then life is now hell. Better get used to it since there is more to come, and I’ll get to that later.
Many of my clients are senior executives who both love the limelight, but who also want to control their image, and that of their organization. That has gotten to be hard in this highly 24/7 social world. Anyone can be spotted and tagged in a photo or video and it is hard to do anything about it. For the photo shy this is frustrating. What can you do – best advice today – get over it. You now live in a fishbowl world and transparency is full time and real time. Be it your image, or any data about you – it is being shared, and in many cases sold to someone who wants to market to you. We now live in a world wide small village where we all know everything about everyone else.
There is outrage at the leaks, and talk of espionage charges against the leakers, one of whom an Army enlisted man is awaiting trial. Things will get sorted out in the future, but one thing is not and will not change in the future. Once the story is out, the damage is done…the bell has been rung and cannot be un-rung! If this is to be our future we must adapt our behavior on the front end to avoid consequences on the other end.
The change in behavior needed? Think transparency and reputation management. If you start with the fact that you really do live in a fishbowl, you should adapt your behavior on the front end, cause the consequences WILL follow on the back end. You should also be active in promoting your brand and all of the positive things it stands for on a routine basis. That should help if any small hick-ups occur along the way. A good offense helps to create a good defense in football parlance.
What happens next with the leaks? In a new Forbes cover story Julian Assange has ‘leaked’ the fact that their next target is going to be a major bank. Big business is now in his sites. With all of the damage being played out in the news over the sad state of the foreclosure mess which is hurting some of the major banks now, I don’t think it will take much to cause a real stir, and perhaps a crisis there. My retired banker father-in-law is so thankful not to be working in this environment. He for one could not stand to live in the ‘fishbowl’ of today’s world. Fish food anyone?