Surprise! A few weeks into the financial bailout Secretary Paulsen announces his strategy is changing and by the way, no one is really 100 percent sure about where half of the $700 billion-dollars went. Oversight is about over before it begun. So now there is yet another crisis of credibility with the current administration and certainly of Congress which became an enabler in this situation.
That credibility could have been preserved to a great degree if Paulsen and the other bailout advocates had better expectations. If you are definitive in order to quell fears during a crisis you should also clearly explain how things may change as any new situation will almost invariably change. But, if you don’t set this kind of expectation, you set yourself up for criticism later and certainly loss of credibility.
We are not proposing starting a campaign by saying, “this is a completely new situation and nobody knows how it will turn out.” Because if you said that nobody will believe you are the best person for the job. It is, of course, very touchy. However, you can’t be wishy washy at the outset because that doesn’t instill confidence and your credibility will suffer even more if you don’t enunciate possibilities.
So messaging should include phrases like:
“Here is what we will do and here is what could happen …”
“We know what we are doing but our experience says we must be ready to change direction when it makes sense to change …”
“We know there will be changes to our plan as this is a unique situation but we will be ready to deal with those changes and put the best resources to bear …”
You get the picture. If you don’t qualify actions, especially during a crisis, nobody will trust you.
We are interested in your thoughts.