Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook Risks
Having action plans in place to respond to any crisis within an organization is effective planning and most importantly good management. In the face of the challenges that arose two years ago at Facebook Inc, the company did not seem to have had any solutions but silence. While Chief Operating Office, Sheryl Sandberg, who also assumed responsibly for policy and legal issues, admitted that the silence was a big mistake, there had been mounting signs of other troubles.
For years the company primary focus had been growth and development and not enough focus on safety and security. Moreover, the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg did not seem to have been briefed as the security team realized its warnings hadn’t gotten to the engineering side of the company, which is run by Mr. Zuckerberg; and whether the notifications of the concerns had gotten to Ms. Sandberg herself either was not known.
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An organization is run as effectively as the executives are competent, and as prepared as the people responsible for each function are to address issues. Crisis management is as an important branch of the organization as the accounting department. Failure to handle crisis within an organization is detrimental to its reputation, the trust between consumers and organization, customers’ loyalty, the employee-organization relationship, and eventually the organization’s bottom line.
Facebook’s lack of preparedness for its mounting issues over two years has cost the company billions of dollars; as well as having its Chief Executive and its Chief Operating Officer in the hot sit on Capitol Hill answer tough questions about their failed data protection, their inability to stop the spreading of fake news and hate speech on its platform. Organizational crisis management starts with engagement in proactive public relations.
Such ongoing public relations’ efforts bolster consumers’ loyalty, and protection and elevation of brand reputation. All this will serve as a cushion against the blow of a crisis, and make consumers more receptive to a company’s apology, have faith in a company’s resolution, and reduce rebound time. Plus, a good PR pro will report to senior management and advise on practices that could destroy a company’s reputation.
The longer a company waits to publicly address a problem, the worse the backlash when issues are exposed, the more complicated the issues become, the more financial resources will be necessary to investigate and resolve them. Facebook. Inc could attest to the consequences of covering up, delayed involvement and actions, and letting issues mount for a period of two years. A management crisis team is paramount and along with immediate involvement are keys, as implementing an action plan at the onset of crisis before escalation yields more positive outcomes.
Finally, making restitution or making things right is the capstone. To reach that goal there need to be a face presented as the leader who will take responsibilities for the fix; and a list of specific and actionable steps that will be implemented to fix the issues at hand. Also, the affected consumers need to be reached directly, and be reassured to be point of feeling much better, and more hopeful than they were before the crisis.
Financial capitalization through the delivery of a service or a product is one aspect of running a business. Positive reputation and long-term relationships need to be established to grow a business and survive the occasional setback. Better preparedness to weather a crisis and earn back goodwill are reachable when an organization focuses on building trust and rapport with customers and the public at large.