Wednesday, October 13, 2010



It may be a stretch to brand this post "ERM-BC-COOP," but then again . . .

Although I travel the country, I call south Florida "home."

One of the area's main sources of income is tourism. Tourists come from all over; not only the other 49 states and Canada, but from Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and - although I've never met any from there - from "Down Under."

Right now - October 13 - we're into the last half of "Silly Season," a season that wraps up on November 2, the first Tuesday in November. Election Day.

Silly Season makes the tv stations, advertising, and PR folks rich and, frankly, begins to bore most permanent residents after they see the same commercial for this or that political hopeful for the 10th time.

What is bothersome this year is the amount of negative campaigning.

Negative campaigning is nothing new, but it seems that this year the tactic is especially bad.

We have several hotly contested races - one for U.S. Senate, one for Governor (no one ever hears about the gubernatorial candidate's choice for lieutenant governor), and several for the U.S. House.

If I was a visitor to my state and depended on the advertisements on tv, I'd be hard pressed to believe that there was an honest politician in the entire state.

Rather than tell us what the candidate will do for the state's citizens if elected, the candidates are telling us about their foe's pecados. (That's not entirely fair; we have one candidate who tells us that if elected he will make sure drug tests are administered to people on welfare . . . how the two - welfare and drugs - relate is beyond my ken and I find no favor with the ad.)

No matter who wins in November, Florida's reputation has been besmirched before the world.

What must visitors and potential visitors think of us? Are all of our elected officials scoundrels?

What impact will the negative campaigning have on tourism? How about businesses considering relocation to Florida. Or venture capitalists' opinions about investing in Florida-based organizations?

Ahh, the ERM-BC-COOP connection: Image.

Image is important to any individual's and any organization's success. A positive image can bring forgiveness for any number of "sins" while a negative image can damage a reputation for years to come.

The best "image protection" an organization can have is honesty and fairness; honesty and fairness with its clients/customers, with its personnel, and with the public in general.

That being written, a good ERM-BC-COOP plan will include ways to protect the image "in the event of," whatever the "of" may be. The "of" could be something as simple as a slip in stock price or the recall of a product.

Who addresses these issues? Who talks to which groups? Who assures that the stories are the same, even if targeted to different audiences and, consequently, with different words? Are generic scripts prepared with blanks for the specifics? Are these scripts vetted by senior management, legal, and any other appropriate persons.

I suspect that most politician in most places lean heavily on negative, "smear-the-opponent" campaigns. If my suspicions is correct, then maybe Florida's Silly Season will be viewed as PSOP - Politicians Standard Operating Procedure.

I really would prefer hearing what Joe and Jane Candidate will do FOR me and my fellow Floridians then hearing why the candidate's opponent is a liar, a crook, and a general disgrace to humanity.

I also would like visitors and prospective visitors to think my state is civilized and that people respect each other.

For all that, the sun still shines and the weather is warm here in southern Florida.

John Glenn
Enterprise Risk Management practitioner
Hollywood - Fort Lauderdale Florida

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