JPMorgan CEO’s Holiday Card a Crisis Management Mistake

Communicating with humility is key in times of crisis

You would expect big CEOs to have learned from Tony Hayward’s mid-spill yacht race debacle, but many still don’t seem to understand that how they conduct their personal lives is equated directly to how much they care about the crisis their organization is in.

Embattled J.P. Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon sent out a holiday card depicting him and his family smashing tennis balls around a ritzy apartment, apparently unconcerned about damaging their expensive digs – not exactly the image you want to send when you stand accused of quite a bit of illegal behavior and reckless handling of money. In an interview with MarketWatch’s David Weidner, BCM president Jonathan Bernstein offered his opinion on why this was a crisis management mistake:

“I advise clients who have been found guilty of wrongdoing, and particularly if they’re still in the crosshairs of other investigations, to communicate with humility if they want to optimize the prospect that their stakeholders will believe them,” Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management told me. “Lack of humility is the petard on which Jamie Dimon has hoisted himself all year. His holiday card comes across as Nero fiddling while J.P. Morgan’s reputation burns.”

If people weren’t facing financial hardship or losing their homes, quite possibly as a direct result of Dimon’s actions, this card wouldn’t even have made the news. Given the situation, however, he may as well be rubbing their noses in it.

The BCM Blogging Team

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