- Context matters: a Twitter event’s spectacular failure.
- How the seeds of failure or success are sown at the start.
- Why it’s the strategist in the room who says, “We need to take a step back.”
Strategic decision-making is both sequential and dynamic. You must begin with understanding context. Next clarify your objectives. Only then can you visualize tactics for achieving those objectives. No step in the process can exceed in quality the step that precedes it. If your research is not world-class, then your tactics will not be world-class. And since circumstances are constantly shifting, your strategy must dynamically respond to changes in context in order to remain vibrant and relevant.
Strategic moments often appear in a crisis. These moments can either propel you forward or set you back—perhaps irretrievably. In order to set the right trajectory when something goes horribly wrong, get the worst information out first, know your values, and act on them. Saving the reputation of an individual or a firm depends on immediately recognizing the seriousness of the situation, taking ownership, and galvanizing a team with common purpose, a sense of urgency and clear direction.
David Demarest’s distinguished career has included serving as Executive Vice President for Global Corporate Relations at Visa International, Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications at BankAmerica Corporation, and White House Communications Director under President George H.W. Bush. A recipient of two honorary doctorates, he teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the founder of AspenLine Reputation Strategies, a reputation management and communications consulting firm.