37 — Judy Smith — Managing Crisis Like a Professional Fixer


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"To all the legal folks out there: the bar is higher for you guys now. There's more expected of you." - Judy Smith

  • How did Judy Smith's career inspire the hit TV show Scandal?
  • What does the new crisis management playbook look like?
  • How did the Monica Lewinsky case shape Judy Smith's career?
  • Why doesn't anyone care about sex scandals anymore?
  • How should organizations share their social values in a world of cancel culture?

Judy Smith: Crisis Management, the White House, and Scandal

Judy Smith wants you to leverage your truth. Judy's work as a world-renowned crisis management expert and entrepreneur has earned her the reputation of being the ultimate “fixer.” She was George H. W. Bush's Deputy Press Secretary, she graduated law school, and her ground-breaking work even inspired a hit TV show: Scandal.

For more than 25 years, she has served as an advisor for a host of corporate, celebrity, non-profit, and government clients providing strategic counsel to help individuals and organizations navigate challenging issues.

And today, Judy shares that expertise with us.

Raising the Bar: Why Law Firms Need to Do More

Over the years, Judy Smith has worked with countless attorneys, and she's seen a transformation across the board. In a 24-hour news cycle where all it takes is a couple of tweets, bad news travels fast. You need to be faster.

So how can you ensure you beat the other party to the punch? What do you need to do to land the right message? Which platform or vehicle is appropriate? Judy shares her ultimate playbook for world-class crisis communications for the legal industry and beyond.

Social Issues and Cancel Culture: How to Tread the Line

Recent events have generated a shift in public expectations as they look for organizations to take a stand on social issues. Firms know what is expected of them, but get the message wrong and you'll face backlash. So what's a responsible firm to do?

Judy Smith explains the incremental positive steps your firm can take, why writing checks won't get you very far, and why, despite the very real risks of cancel culture, it's still worth putting your values on the line.

Key takeaways:

  • Be prepared, act fast. Bad news gets across the globe in 18 seconds, so it’s important to be ready when a crisis strikes.
  • What, when, and how. You must determine the right strategy and the vehicle for each specific crisis communication; not everything can be handled in an email or a tweet.
  • Know when to walk away. Not everything is fixable, even for Judy Smith, so you need to know and accept a lost cause.

Links and Resources

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