Winston Churchill, who might have been remembered as another could-have-been-but-wasn’t had it not been for the opportunity to save civilization from an existential threat, famously said “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  He would know.

In 1976, M. F. Weiner wrote an article in the journal Medical Economics under the title “Don’t Waste a Crisis — Your Patient’s or Your Own.”

Rahm Emanuel expanded on things a bit by saying “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

As you can see, it’s not exactly a new concept.

You Know That Thing About Clouds And Silver Linings?

All too often, especially in marketing and business, I see business creators enter immediate panic and damage-control mode.

An e-mail goes out with a typo or a link that didn’t work, and cue the finger-pointing over who dropped the ball and all kinds of stuff about quality control.

Or, the webinar software crashed right before the pitch – but what else is new there, eh?

And I could write a whole book just about social media gaffes and fails.  I admit to my fair share of them.


Now what?

The Silver Lining Is Made Of… Silver (A Precious Metal!)

Let’s reframe this.

Program yourself to think of your mistakes, crises, gaffes, and other f&%*!ps as disruptions, rather than crises.

Disruptions shake the status quo and force a review of the blueprints and maps.

When you go back and look at the original plan, having now been executing it, you can ask questions like:

  • How’s everything going so far, according to the plan?
  • What course corrections have we already made?
  • What have we learned that we might apply now to make this even work even better and attain a greater result?

And let’s point out one more thing:

When You Make A Public Mistake, You Now Have People’s Attention

It’s yours to win or lose.

Because the focus is on you, there’s a golden (or silver) opportunity to do something really awesome.

Do you need a new vendor? Are you considering doing business with someone?

The mark of a really good company that engages in effective reputation management, or reputation marketing, is to read their online reviews and seek out two things:

  • All the compliments and praise they get
  • The criticism and complaints they receive – AND HOW THEY HANDLE IT.

This is why, when I look at a company’s reviews, I prefer those with a score of about 4.3 out of 5.

I want to see that they’ve screwed up, how they’ve screwed up, and what they did about it to make the customer happy in the end (or put paid to a vicious troll in a confident, respectful manner).

When investing in a person or a company, it’s always good to know they appreciate the value of silver and are investing in it.

Next time you have a f&%*!p – relax, take a deep breath, and ponder the possibilities.

And, if I may indulge one more cliche, enjoy the lemonade.

Do you have a f&%*!p you need to fix?

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