9 Easy Steps to Ruin Your Reputation

If anything teaches us about how to handle ourselves in public, er, how NOT to do it, the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock at last week’s Oscar’s event, and its aftermath, is a textbook example of exactly how NOT to do it.

It provides an instructive roadmap about how NOT to handle public incidents that often befall executives and their organizations.

In what followed the incident itself, there is an endless array of Leadership Lessons to be learned about Accountability, Communication, Personal Development … and more.

Some pretty good laughs from SNL, too, that capture certain nuggets of how this went down. This skit is one example .

The 9 Step Program to Ruin Your Image and Your Reputation.

You can find the 9 Steps below or see my Twitter thread here outlining The 9 Step Program to Ruin Your Image and Your Reputation.

The 9 Easy Steps to Ruin Your Reputation

  1. Laugh at a joke you think is funny which was spoken in front of a worldwide audience in your industry‘s largest annual event.
  2. A few moments later, take the stage and slap that same speaker for what you now apparently see as offensive and not so funny … in front of a worldwide audience including women and children.
  3. Follow up by shouting the F word at the top of your lungs… twice… in front of the same worldwide audience.
  4. Show no remorse and don’t apologize to the specific people you offended until the next day when the outrage over your behavior becomes overwhelming.
  5. Don’t appear in public or be seen directly apologizing to anyone.
  6. Publish a carefully worded “apology“ to the world in general. Make sure it is carefully crafted and professionally edited, and sheltered behind a social media account. Toss in a few names of the people you offended as surrogates for an apology to them in person.
  7. When you see your industry group considering disciplinary action, resign from that organization before your membership is terminated. Do it with another carefully crafted and professionally edited apology, again emphasizing how remorseful you are for your actions.
  8. Continue to stay out of the public eye and start drafting the next round of apologies in preparation for further disciplinary action from your industry organization.
  9. Good job. All is well.