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BOOKCOVER_9781451649994It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Scandal, so when it came time for this month’s #BookClub I HAD to read Judy Smith’s (the real-life Olivia Pope) Good Self, Bad Self.

Smith’s website bio reads like the makings of a fantastic television show (obviously Shonda Rhimes thought the same): “Perhaps best known in media circles for her expertise as a crisis management advisor, Ms. Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high profile, celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career including, but not limited to, Monica Lewinsky, Senator Craig from Idaho, actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy.”

While Smith’s book is more geared towards how to manage a personal crisis, I thought it was extremely relevant and useful for career advice/tidbits.

She outlines the book in seven character traits that can be our biggest assets, or biggest liabilities. "The same traits that make you successful can be your downfall. That's the root of most crises and the point of this book."

  • Ego
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Ambition
  • Accommodation
  • Patience
  • Indulgence

Each trait has a chapter where she details several areas of potential downfall or triumphs, and even uses real scandals to illustrate her points. Within each chapter, she explains how you can “fix” the problem using her POWER method.

  • Pinpoint the core trait: Identify which trait is in play.
  • Own it: Acknowledge that it can be both good and bad.
  • Work through it: Process the role it's played in your life.
  • Explore it: Consider how it could play out in the future.
  • Rein it in: Establish how to re-achieve balance and control.

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a light read, as well. Smith details how each and every trait can be a downfall for yourself, as well as a brand, company or idea.

However, in case you find yourself (or client) in a crisis situation, Smith has a few guidelines to help you manage and survive:

  • Trust your gut.
  • Know the facts--not what you *want* them to be but what they *are.*
  • Never assume you know everything.
  • The truth always comes out--it's only a question of when.
  • Read the climate--know the landscape.
  • Know where you want to end up.
  • Know when to hold and when to fold.
  • Admit you are in trouble.
  • Don't overreact.
  • You will know when to walk away.
  • Things usually get worse before they get better.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Crises occur irrespective or one's fame, power, or prestige...so deal with it.
Kelly Potts
Kelly Potts
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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