Life imitating art

by Ron Wain, Joint Managing Director, Deep South Media

You and I are no different.

We are both trying to get by in this lovely-ugly thing called Life.

There are mouths to feed, bills to pay, relationships to be nurtured, money to be made or lost, happiness to be kept or, if elusive, obtained.

Part of what motivates us to roll, creak or bounce out of bed, to crack on with the world we share with seven billion others, is our sense of self worth.

Self worth is a bedrock for you and me.

But it can sometimes buckle under sudden, extreme forces.

Each time there is a tremor, a shift in the tectonic plates of our fragile lives, we can but hope that the experience makes us stronger.

There will always be trials and tribulations, though. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. To think otherwise is tantamount to a delusional state.

Indeed, in any business with reputational self-worth, it is always best to be professionally disposed against the workings of chance.

To expect the unexpected in the certain knowledge that Bad Will Happen.

It is not a question of if, but when.

There are organisations which, either wilfully or through ignorance, assume the default position of Nothing Bad Will Happen Because, As The Boss, I Have 156 Other Priorities And How Can I Justify The Expenditure On Emergency Planning And Media Training When There Are So Many Other Financial Demands!

These are the entities in danger of becoming a cropper, being hung out to dry on social media and savaged by an ever-vigilant, information-ravenous media.

Good bosses, by way of contrast, accept the ground will sometimes sway beneath their feet, because they are pragmatic, because they understand the game, because they have mettle.

Take, for example, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the veteran chairman of Swiss food giant Nestlé. He is responsible for 340,000 staff, 2,000-plus brands and nearly 450 factories.

Talking to Deirdre Hipwell, a rising star on The Times’ formidable business reporting team, Mr Brabeck-Letmathe stated that criticism, including the “less justified”, helps improve the company.

“You can neither get angry nor annoyed. This is a part you have to handle. And it is my conviction that every time somebody criticises us, it is worthwhile to have a close look, because I am not pretending that we are perfect…so let’s check and if there is a need to do something different, then let’s rectify it.”

You can bet your Maggi two-minute noodles that Nestlé has plans for every contingency, ones that have been repeatedly tested and fine-honed.

Of course, Nestlé brings in sales of almost £60 billion, so it can afford to invest in such detail.

Yet the cost of incident planning, including how to communicate effectively with customers, staff, suppliers and the media, is not sky-high – it is affordable.

Here at Deep South Media, staffed by 11 professionally-qualified news journalists, we provide enlightened companies and organisations with exactly this, backed up with white-heat media interview training.

You can either be a Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, grasping the nettle, or you can allow your reputation to be eviscerated because you thought that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune only belonged in a Shakespeare play about a deranged Danish prince ranting to a skull, his self-worth shredded.