Turning from crisis to proactivity


Twelve days into the Trump presidency, it might be useful to turn from what many see as multiple crises to … proactivity.

Indeed, proactivity is often the inoculation for crisis.

Today we commend the Boy Scouts of America and USA Football for identifying their potential challenges in advance and getting out ahead of them — before they become debilitating crises.

The Boy Scouts, roundly criticized for many years for blocking gay scoutmasers and gay boy scouts, announced this week that transgender members of both groups would be welcome. Amid the cacophony generated by the president’s tweets and the White House edict machine — was any other U.S. Supreme Court nominee named on prime time television? — the Boy Scouts smartly moved to thwart a fight.

Agreeing with the decision or not is beside the point of this discussion. That the Boy Scouts identified a potential minefield, studied the issue, made the decision and announced it starkly contrasts with its earlier dustup over gay scouts.

In a similar move, USA Football, the governing body for football leagues with players 13 and under, changed its rules. The rules are designed to limit or even end injuries and hard hits, especially those that cause concussions.

Purists critical of both decisions nonetheless have to admire the willingness to change, to grow, to listen.

For youth football, the changes may also be a concession to sustainability. Fewer parents than in recent decades are permitting their children to play football, as it’s currently constituted. But seeing a decline in participation and doing something to stem it can often be parallel rail lines that never meet in stubborn organizations.

No doubt, critics of both will cite tradition and toughness and rue “political correctness.” But from a reputation-management point of view, these two organizations listened, acted smartly and should benefit.

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Senior Vice President/Managing Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

 

 

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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