Career Warfare Rule 9: The Higher You Fly, The More You Will Be Shot At

The more successful you become, the more scrutiny you will undergo. Private personal embarrassments that nobody would have cared about in the past now become news. Bad press comes with the territory once you reach a certain level of success. This is the price that one must pay. So it would be wise to prepare in advance. This can mean the difference between a news story that lasts for a year, to one that lasts only a few weeks. Even if you have not reached a point in your career where the media cares, these principles apply to the scrutiny that you would face within your own org.

Understand when, As Ricky Said To Lucy, “You Got Some Splainin’ To Do
Prevent a negative news story from happening in the first place. Explain things ahead of time before they blow up. Its much better for the press to hear information from you first, rather than them thinking they found some dirt on you.

The Bunker Won’t Work For You Any Better Than It Worked For Eva Braun
Do not try to cover up, minimize, or dismiss a negative story. Do not try to hide in a bunker. Once a negative story breaks, additional stories will follow. By hiding, you lose control over the narrative. Now instead of focusing on the mistake that was made, the news will focus on your unwillingness to address it. This will result in everything from your past being dredged up and served as news.

Public Perjury Is A Bad Idea
Do not lie. Lying when you are already under the scrutiny of the press will further undermine your credibility; your every action is already under a microscope. The truth, while painful, is a much better alternative than a lie.

Be Prepared For the Dime-Droppers
Bad news will bring everyone from your past with an ax to grind out of the woodwork. There is not much you can do, but know it is coming. Prepare yourself and your family accordingly.

Every Brand Has Incendiary Spots; Avoid pouring gasoline on yours
There are two types of stories to avoid. The “Confirmation” story in which suspicions about your brand are confirmed, and the “Cross cut” story, in which some aspect of your brand is exposed as a lie. Watergate was a textbook confirmation story; Nixon had been regarded as underhanded throughout his career, Watergate proved it. Jimmy Swaggart is the classic crosscut story. Famous televangelist preaching the sinfulness of homosexuality only to get caught doing drugs with male prostitutes.

Don’t Go On A Jihad
Don’t shift the blame to others. Take ownership and responsibility for your mistakes. Blaming things on others will make you look worse, and oftentimes the blame you level at others will boomerang back. Don’t become a laughingstock by blaming a vast conspiracy.

Update Your Eyeglass Prescription Regularly
What was once ok to say or do in the past, is not necessarily ok now. Standards and times change.

Don’t let them see you sweat
Don’t let others see how the criticism and scrutiny is negatively impacting you. If they don’t see you sweat, you generally don’t sweat that long. Do not give up

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