A Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Experts in crisis management affirm that to be successful, it is necessary to anticipate events by anticipating the intrinsic risks of the business; keep authorities and key audiences informed when the situation breaks out; accept responsibility for the facts; and take action so that it does not happen again.

In the game of business, situations change at the speed of light. While in March Zuckerberg and Sandberg the main executives of Facebook seemed to have flunked the matter of crisis management by remaining silent and responding five days after the scandal with Cambridge Analytica broke, this week the panorama is different.

The Midas of social platforms took off his jeans and gray tshirt to comply with the dress code required in the solemn spaces of the American Congress.

Elegantly dressed, he made his way through the corridors of the Capitol until he reached the room.

He seemed calm, prepared and even confident. With great humility, he began his speech, reaffirming the noble nature of Facebook and how he has contributed to empowering the voice of many who have no voice in the most critical moments. He cited the #MeToo movement, Hurricane Harvey volunteers, and Mexico earthquake rescue operations, among others.

He took responsibility for it and publicly apologized. He did not feign ignorance, knowing that this forum is more political theater than creation of public policy. Other CEOs have passed through these spaces and have failed, so it is handled with caution, prudence and respect, knowing that it is as important how things are seen as what is said.

Zuckerberg has been on the road perfecting his testimony, getting to grips with the layout of the courtroom, pinpointing specific members of Congress, anticipating the toughest questions, but getting ready to answer them. The technology titan, in most cases, socially awkward, showed his best side before the cameras and the authorities in his 10-hour appearance.

His mastery of his subject gave him a competitive advantage over his inquisitors, many of them ignorant of the way Facebook or other platforms he owned operated. However, when faced with questions considered by many “absurd”, he only showed a slight and ironic smile, responding in a structured way, with the intention of educating.

He personalized the speech and connected with his audience, creating empathy by presenting himself as part of the victims of the accounts that were hacked by Cambridge Analytica.

His appearance constitutes a case study of successful crisis management at the highest level. Some points to note:

1. It is always beneficial to anticipate potential risks in order to be prepared when the time comes and not be reactive;

2. We can start badly when facing a crisis, but there is always an opportunity to improve the image and straighten the path;

3. Control gives you the knowledge and preparation of the situation, taking into account even the worst scenarios;

4. We are not going to answer questions, but to transmit messages;5. In a highly connected world, putting on the best face and never losing your composure gives you a huge advantage in image building, take advantage of 5 minutes of fame;

Zuckerberg’s command of the situation was reflected on Wall Street. For now, he won the first battle, because the war is not yet approaching. However, in a society where the words ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Security’ make so much noise, regulation and control are often the panacea.

Autor: Lara Guerrero




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