Friday, February 11

Boy Scouts: Ill-prepared?

For those of you outside of the area, the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America is being investigated by the FBI. It is charged with inflating its membership rolls.

Of particular interest is the fact that these charges have been public for a number of weeks now, and the scouts finally got around to hiring an outside public relations firm to assist with messaging. Here's what got my attention:
The council, which confirmed the FBI review last month and said it was cooperating with investigators, said it had developed "an aggressive plan" for implementing an internal audit.
That's it? After all of that time, all we get is an "aggressive plan" for implementing an "internal audit?"

Folks... this is a clear case of an organization needing a crisis communications plan. Once there is a situation that threatens your institutional credibility, you need to get out front with a statement like this one. I like the word selection: aggressive, internal, and audit are all strong words that invoke connotations of swift and sure action. They promote confidence.

They also fly in the face of reality if they are used nearly four weeks after their peak effectiveness.

You mean to tell me that only now, weeks after the feds have raided your place and rolled out files in front of television cameras... only now are you developing a plan for an internal audit?

Many days late -- and considering what they are paying their outside spokespeople -- many dollars short.

A business or team with a halfway decent proactive crisis communications plan could have put that out within 30 minutes.