Masters of Disaster

Masters of Disaster Book Cover

“In the Information Age, there are two kinds of people, two kinds of institutions, two kinds of organizations: those who have been hit with a crisis and those who haven’t been around very long” – so begins Masters of Disaster (by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani, and Bill Guttentag).

While crises come in all sizes (from public political exposé or a private email goof), your response to a crisis should follow their “10 commandments of damage control”, which can be summarized as: “Don’t try to outsmart anyone. Take blame as appropriate. Show how this won’t happen again.”

No matter  how much we’d like to portray ourselves or our businesses as perfect, the reality is we’ll mess up – whether unintentionally or by less-ethical behaviors. Rather than trying to become a “spin expert”, become a “transparently honest”. You don’t need to reveal all your dirty laundry, just enough to show your target audience the current scope of the issue, and your future strategy to remedy and avoid it.

Commandment I: Full Disclosure
Commandment II: Speak to Your Core Audience
Commandment: III: Don’t Feed the Fire
Commandment: IV: Details Matter
Commandment V: Hold Your Head High
Commandment VI: Be Straight About What You Know, What You Don’t Know ….
Commandment VII: Respond with Overwhelming Force
Commandment VIII: First In, First Out
Commandment IX: No Swiftboating
Commandment X: They Dissemble, You Destroy


Bonus: Watch Chris Lehane share the commandments in this Stanford Graduate School of Business video.

1 thought on “Masters of Disaster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.