1. Ignore the problem:
Management seems unaware and is surprised by a crisis that others saw coming, or that they themselves were warned about but chose not to address.
2. Deny the severity of the problem:
Management takes only minimal steps to address a problem, or downplays its significance, resulting in an inadequate response.
3. Compartmentalize the problem or solution:
Management mistakenly assumes that others will appreciate its own functional division of labor, and defines the crisis or its solution as specific to a department, division, geographic region, or other compartment. But the constituencies who matter most view the problem as an enterprise-wide crisis and expect an enterprise-wide response.
4. Tell misleading half-truths:
Management tries to misdirect attention by speaking literally true statements with the intention of misleading, which challenge adversaries or whistleblowers to seek the full story.
Management tells a deliberate untruth with the intention of deceiving.
6. Tell only part of the story; let the story dribble out:
Less a function of ethics than of prudence, management reveals only the smallest amount of bad news it feels compelled to on any given day, but repeats the cycle on subsequent days, leading to multiple bad news cycles. The principle of telling bad news is to bundle bad news into as few news cycles as possible, preferably just one.
7. Assign blame:
Rather than taking meaningful steps to solve the problem, management tries to redirect attention away from itself and to someone else.
Managements unaccustomed to criticism often implode publicly and turn public statements into private therapeutic sessions in which they unburden themselves of pent-up frustrations.
9. Panic and paralysis:
Work grinds to a halt as management and employees focus exclusively on the fear or the thrill of the crisis, and companies suffer operational or financial harm from reduced productivity.
10. Shoot the messenger:
© 2006 Helio Fred Garcia
Management creates a culture of punishing those who bring problems to their attention, resulting in problems being buried and compounded.