Weiner: A Cautionary Tale for the C-Suite

Can a guy really be this stupid? I found myself pondering that question over the past 24 hours in regards to the Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) scandal. I wanted so badly to believe that this time there really would be a plausible explanation for this kind of situation. Certainly, Weiner read the coverage when his House colleague Chris Lee resigned under a cloud of humiliation for a similar transgression. Certainly, he read the coverage of Brett Favre’s cell phone seduction of NY Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger?

The answer is that Weiner of course saw the coverage, as well as the countless other instances of steamy texts and lewd pictures sent by a very powerful and very public man to a woman that’s not his wife. So, what causes a man of seemingly sound mind (and influence) to give in to the temptation of sordid, online behavior? Especially after watching, time and again, the devastating consequences to his family and career?

I believe the answer lies in one of the character traits that helps propel people to the top in the first place. Whether it’s a superstar athlete, an elected official, or a Fortune 500 CEO, at least part of what drives the ambition to reach the peak of the career pyramid is ego. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. Hey, whatever it takes, right? Ahh, but sometimes, as Mr. Weiner and those before him have learned, the “my s—t don’t stink” attitude leads to behavior that, well, stinks.

Here at DGC we’re fortunate to counsel some very talented and successful CEOs. They are some of the smartest, most visionary business leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Sometimes, though, a crisis rears its head and we find ourselves suggesting a communications path that’s stunted by, well, ego. “That’ll never happen to us,” a CEO will declare when told the negative coverage a certain action (or inaction) will have.

We’ll stay resolute, but on some rare occasions ego has won over reason. And the results have been disastrous. The truth is, I’m not sure there’s much you can do when the CEO holds his or her ground like that. Perhaps have a clip book handy – of Mr. Weiner. And Mr. Lee. And Mr. Favre.

Posted on June 7, 2011, in Business, DiGennaro Communications, Howard Schacter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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