by guest blogger George Drucker
Who speaks for an organization? It shouldn’t be a tweet from an “unauthorized” employee (even if that employee makes $20 million a year!)
In the era of social/digital media, where anyone has access to eyeballs and ears around the world, one of the most vital postulates of organizational communications can readily be undermined, — the principle of speaking with one voice.
This came to mind recently when New York Yankee third-baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to play a game this year after serious hip surgery in the off-season, tweeted that he was ready for minor-league rehab, which means his comeback to the majors is nearing. This entails playing in a couple of minor league games, preparing with live pitching in real situations, and shortly thereafter making his season debut with the Yankees.
Seemed harmless enough. . .at least to Alex.
In the heat of the moment, and in the spirit of social sharing — informing his millions of Twitter followers of his upcoming “comeback” — Mr. Rodriguez failed to clue in one key “player,” his bosses at the New York Yankees. He never informed them of his plans, or, more importantly, of his tweet.
The response from Brian Cashman, general manager of the Yankees, who is responsible for making player personnel decisions and announcements, demonstrated refreshing candor. He also showed the importance of organizational messaging and coordination.
His comment to the press basically said “the New York Yankees will announce and make decisions about when or where Alex Rodriguez will return. In the meantime, he should shut the $@&# up!”
Now, maybe this isn’t exactly the terminology or tone one should use in stating corporate or organizational positioning, but it does make a salient point. Regardless of the available media for anyone to access the public directly, there still should only be one source speaking for the entity; one voice that truly represents the thinking, policies, and positioning of the whole.
And it wasn’t Alex Rodriguez.
Alex, go ahead and tweet. Just don’t do it in public in the voice of the New York Yankees.« Tuesday Tips: PR (Never) Takes a Holiday! | Tuesday Tips: Know Your PR Jargon »