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March 22, 2012
Avoiding Goldman's Tarnish
 
PR isn't HR or legal or the executive suite, or is it? PR people need to take a holistic view of the organizations they represent, to walk in the client's shoes as well as the public's. As long as you're listened to, you need to be a cogent adviser. When the listening stops, leave. These reflections arise upon reading a Business Insider piece on "5 Ways To Make Sure Your Company's Culture Doesn't Turn Toxic Like Goldman Sachs."

There are many Goldman-like cultures and just as many that espouse a best-in-breed ethos, writes Steve Cody of Peppercom. You've got to know which your client is moving toward and help him head for the high road, if he or she has, or is willing to acquire, the makings. This is why PR, practiced well, is so much more than media relations. 

PR people need to be mindful of how a client is performing on several levels, and help the organization to the extent possible be as effective as possible. Says Cody:

1. The CEO must always be open, honest, and transparent.
2. Senior management must continually experience their organization from the audience's perspective.
3. Employees need to be heard and heeded. 
4. Compensation needs to be tied to values — values matter. 
5. Start with the end in mind — how does senior leadership want to be remembered in the future?

These can be daunting aims indeed. But good PR people need to be prepared to help, or at least seek to help, a client stay with them. Cody's is a piece to be heeded. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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