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to lead successful governments in spite of these serious charges. They each acted quickly and decisively, guided by strong personal advisers. And then there is the gormless Mark Stanford. For nearly a week, the South Carolina Governor disappeared. His closest staff, his wife and even his security detail said they had no idea where he was. They then tried to claim he was hiking alone in the mountains. He was in fact in Argentina enjoying an ongoing affair. Within a month the state legislature attempted to impeach him, and in Decem- ber the state’s Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to censure him. His wife left him and his public career is probably over. The lesson here is not that standards have changed – though they have – nor that Americans are tougher on their public figures and that Canadians are more defer- ential, though we are. Marital problems such as those that pained Pierre and Margaret Trudeau, John Robarts, and Rene Levesque would not get such delicate handling in Canada today. Today, there would be little difference in how we would report an ‘outed’ extra-marital affair in- volving a major figure. A Canadian Rudy Giuliani, con- ducting an affair which caused him to be thrown out of his official residence and then to divorce, would not have received different treatment in Toronto or Montreal than New York.

The lesson of Rudy’s story is that when it exploded he managed the crisis quickly, openly and confidently. It did not make him a more appealing human being. It did inoculate him as a politician and leader from sort of the damage that Sanford—who hid and lied—inflicted on himself. The crisis management lesson, known to everyone who

has ever successfully managed such an explosion, is almost banal: Get the truth, the whole truth, out fast. Most crises can be managed, and most reputations can

be recovered. A crisis dealt with quickly, confidently and openly is less likely to become the dominant narrative of a person’s career. A crisis avoided, denied and allowed to dribble out, will leave scars. Long term reputation rehab is possible – who would have thought on the humiliating day he was evicted from office, that Richard Nixon would have died a respected statesman again. That however took twenty years and did not erase all of the scars he wore from the nigh biblical devastation of his career at Watergate. He should have given a clear statement immediately af-

ter recovering from the golf club blows his wife allegedly inflicted. He could have put a lid on the mess with an early press conference statement, preferably with his wife at his side. Even a few days later he might have staunched the wounds with a little more candour and contrition. Tiger Woods’ dumbest mistake was his lifestyle! Made

worse by his mismanagement once it became public. Which begs the question, who was advising him? While crises are unavoidable—leading the wise to re- hearse and prepare for the unexpected—the truly disas-

trous crises are those that are self-inflicted. They reveal most painfully your ability to manage in an emergency. They also pin a spotlight on the bad judgment and the poor counsel that let it happen. However, even in truly head-snapping cases of stupidity like Tiger Woods, recov- ery is possible. There is one caveat to this confident view: that is legal

or criminal proceedings. The rules that govern courts of law are not the same as those that govern the court of public opinion. Lawyers earn their fees telling you what you can’t do. Rarely is it a good idea to follow all of their prohibitions, but your freedom to comment, make your- self available and to manage the crisis is limited. Perhaps the most critical difference that exists is timing. Courts take forever, potentially allowing a crisis to fester. There are remedies but they are complex, different and for an- other day.

It is clear that Tiger Woods’ team either had done no

crisis management planning or they ignored it when the story exploded. They ignored the need to put out their own version of events, however embarrassing, to attempt to frame the narrative. Each day was simply a new anony- mous “friend” defensively countering the latest embar- rassing revelation. Instead of dictating the terms of the engagement they continued to reel from one allegation after another. But the rule they broke most egregiously was the consultant’s version of the Hippocratic Oath: “Do not let the client do harm to himself, his family or his reputation.”

The crisis management lesson, known to everyone who has ever successfully managed such an explosion, is almost banal: Get the truth, the whole truth, out fast.

It is not believable that Tiger kept his flagrant infidelity

a secret from those close to him. If, as it is alleged, some of these affairs had been go- ing on for years, people must have known. His people must have known. There would have been missing hours and days, dinners, unexplained nights away, expenses and phone records. How many of his advisors, drivers, caddies cast a blind eye to what was dramatically career-threaten- ing behaviour? A strong professional advisor – heck, even a reasonably

close friend – has to step in as the spiral becomes obvious, and say, “Whoa! Your behavior is a threat to your career, your family and your reputation. Stop!” If the warnings are

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