Stumbling through Business School

June 06, 2011

Stumbling through Business School

Totally agree. Just read an article about teaching reputation management in business schools. I gather it is not happening. Actually, this topic has been circulating for as many years as I have been in the field of reputation management. How is it possible that nothing has changed?  An analysis of highly ranked MBA programs by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) found that only 16% offer a single course in crisis management, strategic communications, public relations, or whatever on a company’s most competitive and valuable organizational asset — its reputation. With all the reputation failures we have seen over the past decade or more — starting with Enron, it is hard to believe that business schools are still treating communications as an elective, if at all. [Weber Shandwick’s stumble rate” shows that nearly one out of every two companies lost reputation in their industry last year.  Isn’t that enough reason to teach MBA students how to communciate to avoid such reputation disasters?]
The article written by Anthony D’Angelo rightfully says: “One can’t blame organizational leaders for not understanding that the way they operate the business is inseparable from the way they communicate about the business, inside and outside the organization. They’re not educated sufficiently to know these are inextricably linked leadership requirements: You can’t have effective leadership without an effective communications strategy. The latter is based on authenticity and transparency because nothing else works.”

Communications is a requirement of good governance and smart leadership. New CEOs understand very well today the importance of communicating internally when they confront their first 100 days.  Nearly all those I have worked with are eager to communicate with employees and desperate to do it well. There is always a perception that the prior leadership did not do enough to communciate the strategy or to movitate and rally employees. But when does” communications amnesia” set in if they are all so eager on Day One?  It is too late to get the communciations bug when crisis is on the doorstep.

Reputation or communications management is sorely needed in business schools today. What’s keeping it away? Is it the perception that communications is all about excuses and spin? Responsible communications needs to be taught.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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