Lessons learned from Ford and Harper.

Toronto’s Mayor Ford and Prime Minister Harper are providing very good examples of what not to do in a crisis. Crisis management mangers are having a field day pointing out the errors the two men are making. Instead of pulling themselves out of the mess they are in, they are compounding their problems as they try to fight off their detractors.

In Toronto, the bear baiting continues as the news media tear at the rags of Rob Ford’s dignity and honour. In Ottawa, in the more genteel atmosphere of parliament, the organized protests of the opposition are fended off by the cricket bat of the Prime Minister. In neither case is the beleaguered principle taking the advice of those who understand the psychology of the situation and the need for special handling.

And in neither case is there going to be a sudden reversal, ‘mea culpa’ or confession. It is not in either man’s persona to honestly discuss the problems with the news media. Nor is either going to be believed at this stage if they attempt to redirect the media attention onto someone else.

Both men have made the same mistake in throwing their chief-of-staff under the bus. By that action alone, they have locked all sights on themselves. Neither will ever attain that level of trust again. They have left themselves slim pickings in the narrow field of available chiefs-of-staff. There will be no trust.

Of course, Rob Ford’s friend Stephen Harper is not so foolish as to tell the media ‘no comment.’ Harper had an excuse to get out of town and he took it. While Opposition Leader Tommy Mulcair accused Harper of skipping town, he looked a bit silly suggesting that Harper could make arrangements for such a trip at the spur of the moment.

While Mr. Harper may wish to call the Senate kafuffle a ‘distraction,’ He needs to remember that he created that distraction. He was promising six years ago to do something about the Senate and he ended up packing it with Conservative Party sycophants. That was not what he promised. And he got more than he bargained for.

But both Ford and Harper have convenient memories. Mind you, you might not want to ask Rob Ford about the deleterious effects of crack cocaine on short term memory. Mr. Harper seems to micromanage everything in Ottawa. He needs to explain how he let us down about the Senate. And the Supreme Court will not help. Maybe next year the judges will tell him he needs the support of most of the provinces to fix the Senate problem.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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