InsightsPOSTED March 31, 2015

One mistake can undo years of good work

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football player

For March, the APEX team is exploring the best communication advice ever.

The best PR advice I have ever received came to me in my first year of university while playing football.

It came following an infamous school celebration where some of us were caught acting like ‘boys being boys.’

At the following practice we were fortunate enough to have coach provide us with a physical reminder of the importance of good behaviour.

After what was hands down, the worst, most gruelling practice I have ever experienced coach said something I would never forget.

“When people see you on the street, they don’t always see you, the person, they see you the football player. Right or wrong, because of this we can be seen as one cohesive entity. As a result, it only takes one of us to make a mistake, which can do years of harm to our group and put us all in jeopardy.  You can act as a pillar of the community and be seen as a man or you can act like a boy and be seen as a …”

Well the rest isn’t PG but you get the drift.

While the 19-year-old version of myself thought it was ridiculous, it turned out to be a very real, very applicable life lesson.

In 2015, I’m sure any of us, regardless of our fields, can pick at least one example of a person making a bone-headed decision, which cost their company in many ways.

The fact is, the never ending news cycle created by the intersection of traditional and social media has put all of us in the spotlight and provides numerous  ‘opportunities’ to make headlines and cause a crisis.

Like it or not, we all have the power to either help or hinder our respective organizations with our actions.

Sure, there are folks like us here at APEX to help rebuild connections after a mistake, but ultimately the best PR advice is to remember we are all advocates of our organizations and we can either help or hinder the people we work with and the communities where we operate.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you might make a bad call ask yourself, how do you want your years of work to be remembered?

Jon Koidis is a consultant at APEX. What communication advice do you have? Let us know here or on Twitter. Also check out what others said.