With quips, quotes and quick posts frequently becoming the source of modern PR disasters – the latest seemingly involving Swimming Australia’s now departed CEO allegedly asking to be referred to as “donkey” and making jokes about sex toys and condoms – I’m struck by the low levels of emotional and social maturity displayed. While businessmen, celebs and politicians must have hectic lives, not many of them make time (or have the inclination) to work on their self-development. If 45+ yr-old men make ill-advised comments about race, gender, sex etc, I’d venture that their EI (emotional intelligence) quotient may not have not evolved much since possibly school or Uni days. Sure, corporates can invest in media and presentation skills training, yet if not backed by an investment in emotional, social and gender awareness then the professional lives of their Execs can be easily undone – and brand reputation tarnished – by under-developed attitudes and juvenile outbursts.
Carried out professionally, the job role encompasses board support, community relations, human resources and, essentially, reputation management. Anyone posting on social media, must understand their comments are like Press Releases by them to the entire world!!
Aussie utility monitor company Energy Watch has just sacked its CEO – and lost several leading sponsorship ties as well – after its indecently youthful CEO Ben Polis – dropped the company in a whopper PR disaster re his social media editorials and utterances. They seem to betray a person of either troubled or questionable character.
Following Polis’ posting of bigoted, racist, sexist and sundry other offensive comments on social media – and the backlash from media commentators – the company had to let the self-outed ADD/ADHD sufferer go. His PR comebacks have so far been lame – along the “I can’t be racist, my cleaner is Asian and I once dated a half-Aboriginal woman.” Ugh. Gritty Polis helped form the Energy Watch company, which kinda explains why he got to be a media-attractive CEO. But doing the job of the CEO means more than typing the title on a businesscard and doing the speakers’ circuit. You need luck and grace on your recovery back from this one, Ben. (Ta to The Age for tip and Herald Sun for graphic).