Gini Dietrich

When a Leader Learns of Unethical Behavior

By: Gini Dietrich | December 12, 2013 | 

When a Leader Learns of Unethical BehaviorBy Gini Dietrich

When I was a kid, I remember my dad coming home from work one day and saying a guy had been fired.

The image I had in my head was the guy literally on fire. I couldn’t understand a) why anyone would do that to another person and b) why that was okay.

In retrospect, I was probably eavesdropping on a conversation between my parents so it served me right to have that image and all those questions.

What I later learned – much, much later – is being a business leader isn’t always rainbows and sunshine.

You sometimes have to fire people. You sometimes have to have conflict-filled conversations. You sometimes have people who end up hating you (which really, really sucks). And you always have to take responsibility when something goes wrong.

Embezzlement and the IRS

In 2009, as the economy was crashing around us and organizations were shutting their doors, I learned the accountant we used had embezzled money from us.

We owed the IRS a lot of money that we thought we had already paid. Turned out, we had paid it to the accountant who never sent the check, but managed to cash it himself.

It was a great, big mess and it took a long time to figure out what had happened and how he had managed to get a check made out to the government cashed.

But he did.

And, as the leader, I was responsible.

Even though I did everything I was supposed to have done and I had no idea this was going on, it was my responsibility.

There were lots of tears shed and I’m pretty sure I said, “This just isn’t fair” about six thousand times.

But, in the words of my mom, “Life isn’t fair.” (For the record, I still think it wasn’t fair.)

We got the whole thing straightened out and we ended up having to pay quite a bit of money to the IRS, but it could have been a lot worse. There could have been jail time. It could have been really, really bad.

Being a Leader isn’t Always Fair

Sometimes the people you trust to do their jobs do bad things. And you have to take responsibility.

It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. But it’s part of being a leader.

A few months ago, we had a situation where an employee was accused of doing a bad thing. We took the appropriate measures to look into the accusation. We also had conversations with the accused and the accuser. We came up on the side of the employee.

But a couple of weeks ago, new evidence came to light and it pointed in favor of the accuser.

Imagine the panic I felt when this was brought to my attention. Not only did I defend the accused when the issue first came up, I did so very publicly. I completely and wholeheartedly trusted this person. But now the cold, hard facts in front of me proved otherwise.

Hindsight is 20/20

In my hindsight, 20/20 vision, it’s easy to now see the one thing we missed when the situation occurred.

We missed it initially. I missed it.

I live and die by my ethics. The culture here is one of honesty, transparency, and accountability. We hire people who demonstrate those same characteristics.

But sometimes things go awry.

I don’t think this person is bad. I don’t think this situation was done intentionally. It could have been a case of too much work or being overwhelmed or simply wanting to put a best foot forward without thinking through the consequences.

It happened. What’s done is done. I missed – or blissfully ignored – the facts.

Because of that, I owe the community here an apology. I was adamant the transgression hadn’t happened…and I pulled many of you into the conversation about it.

But we did do something unethical. It has been fixed. We now have a change in our process should this ever happen again.

I’m very, very sorry.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Love to you, Gini.

  • You’re human, Gini. I love you, okay?

  • chelpixie Thanks, love!

  • NancyMyrland No, I’m not! My team calls my robot for a reason! Ug.

  • And these are the blog posts you love to op up on that editorial calendar.

    Sorry you had to go through this. Wish the employee had just admitted it up front. We have choices when we take actions. Sad that so much of our culture in the US supports lies and deceit to be it’s own industry (like your accountant!). I mean how could the Sopranos succeed if law and honesty were best policies for everyone. Or the ‘democratic’ Elections!

    It’s ok Kid. Here. Have a lifesaver.

  • Katherine Bull

    In my book… A good boss, employee, friend, partner, etc. who readily admits s/he is wrong are the most trustworthy people in the world. You did good, my friend.

  • Katherine Bull Thanks. It has been a pretty terrible couple of weeks. Lots of lawyers and debates about going public. I’m very much looking forward to the Christmas break!

  • Howie Goldfarb I would love a roll of cherry Lifesavers!

  • Your character and ethics are a big driver of our success.

  • jasonkonopinski I hope so. I suppose that’s why it hurts so badly when it goes wrong.

  • ginidietrich I believe it fully.

  • ginidietrich Katherine Bull A well deserved Christmas break I am sure 🙂 Sorry that this happened Gini.  I keep coming back here everyday to this community largely because of the character and ethics jasonkonopinski mentioned earlier.

  • LSSocialEngage Thanks, Lubna. Ethics mean a great deal to me.

  • ginidietrich I  know and believe it!

  • “Own it” takes on a whole new meaning in situations like this. Whatever happened (and this post creates more questions than answers on that front), kudos to you for stepping forward: admitting that something was wrong, that you missed it, that it’s now been set right, and  – most importantly – genuinely and clearly apologizing to your community.  You are in real time setting an excellent example for all of us on how to “own it” when things go awry (as they do, and as they will again. Because life, and business ownership, is messy!) Congratulations and thank you for your candor: My Christmas wish for you is a little time to breathe and heal and regroup from a rough patch on the road.

  • It’s not just ethics you have Gini – you also have huge amounts of loyalty and trust. It’s not easy when any of those are broken but at the end of the day, you’re human. It always shakes me to the core when someone that I trusted deceives me and it makes me question how trusting I am, but I would rather be that way than go thru life doubting everyone. People like us just aren’t wired that way. We <3 you, Gini D!!!

  • I have the same story when I was young and hearing a friend of mine’s father had been fired; it was very upsetting.

    Yep, the buck stops with you and sometimes hard decisions have to be made, which is much better than hard time btw; just ask Martha Stewart…:).

    You know what really bites the wienie is having to type w/ one hand…..but it keeps my reply brief, huh?

  • And the honesty of this post is why I have always liked you, Gini! Hang in there. This too shall pass. (My mom always said that) Merry Christmas and I have a ski hill full of snow for you up in the northwoods.

  • I remember that post and the comments well. Ouch. But you know what? I firmly believe that everybody and every company makes mistakes. It’s how you handle them — and own them — that differentiates you from the rest. I hate that this happened, but I love that you handled it with the same integrity in which you handle everything else. And your immediate reaction to defend your staff? I love that too. 🙂

  • flt3

    The embezzling thing is unfortunately rather common. The same thing happened to my dad, except he gave the tax check to his partner to handle. But good for you for doing what’s right.

  • Gini wr have all stepped out to defend someone. Sometimes we are right..sometimes we are wrong. I just hope you don’t become do guarded thst you stop believing the best in people.

  • KelleeOReilly Ug. I know. It was a HUGE debate with the attorneys. Having managed many a crisis for clients, I was expecting push-back, but also thought I’d be able to say more than where we ended. So I’m sorry there are more questions than answers. My hands are tied, which is another source of frustration for me.

  • KristenDaukas You’re right. I definitely thought, “Should I be checking up on everyone all the time?” I immediately erased that from my mind because that’s not the leader I want to be, it’s not the culture I want to build, and I definitely would not want to work in an organization like that.

  • bdorman264 I have to say, I’m impressed you ARE typing with one hand. I can’t believe you broke it! That’s my level of accident.

  • Julie Walraven Maybe I’ll take today off and come visit! I could use some slope time.

  • kvjincpr I don’t think I will (I hope not, anyway!). It’s not the kind of culture I want to build…and I don’t want to get so jaded I stop defending my team.

  • flt3 Isn’t that crazy?? I had a friend it happened to, as well. Amazing.

  • TaraGeissinger I’m like a mother hen. Sometimes it bites me in the butt.

  • Yeah, I’d much rather have wrongly defended someone than wrongly accused or fired someone. 🙂 The truth always finds a way out.

  • It speaks volumes to your personal ethics and leadership to publicly admit you were wrong about the employee. For you to then go on record and state something unethical occurred with an apology is amazing and not seen much in business.

    I hated to read about the accountant who embezzled money and had you in hot water with the IRS. This is a fear of mine mainly because of how easily it can be done.

    Have a great day Gini!

  • Hi, Gini. You’re such a class act. These things are tough and it’s hard to not take them personally but as a good friend of mine often says, your business is what you do, not who you are. In other words, you’re not perfect, no one expects you to be and my hope is you’ll be easy on Gini. Again, you’re such a class act. In other news, life has kept me off Spin Sucks for too long! I hope to drop in more! I miss chatting with you and others here!

  • terreece

    You always write great pieces, but the ones that truly grab me are these heartfelt unflinchingly honest ones. These are why you have the community you do here. The whole situation sucks donkey for you and the group right now, BUT it’ll benefit you in the end, kind of an iron sharpening iron thing.
    If nothing else you’ve provided case study for
    How companies should deal with this kind of thing.
    Hang in there *insert image of kitty dangling from a tree*
    Side note: why so people always steal the tax money? Of all the institutions they could short – bills, donations, reimbursements or whatever, they choose the one entity who does nothing, but track the money they are owed. Insane.

  • Man, I went through the EXACT same scenario in another life in my very first business. Hairball. It really caused me problems for a few years until the IRS released me from liability. Turns out the accountant had done this to several businesses and went to prison as a result.

    In respect to the other situation. I would have done the same thing. People around me whom I trust and respect will ALWAYS get the benefit of the doubt. I’m scrappin’!

    Sometimes people let us down. They let themselves down. 

    I also admire how you dealt with it publicly. Come clean, admit error, and apologize.

    That’s what great leaders do. They except full responsibility. The buck always stops with them. That’s a leader I would follow.

    Hopefully the individual in question will learn and grow from this mistake, and live up to the trust you extended them in the first place… Nobody is perfect.  

    Any business owner or professional worth their weight has gotten there by learning from their mistakes and improving as a result. 

    Happy Holidays to you and yours, Gini! : )

  • This is an honest, tough and brave post, Gini. And a very important one. I’ve seen too many leaders pass the buck and push down the responsibility to those who report to them when something goes wrong. (The PM of Canada comes to mind as does the MD of a large PR agency I know.)

    I had a similar situation a few years back when an employee forwarded a snarky and potentially libellous email about the client to the client. I was actually at the head table of a public industry event when I found out and could feel my face turn three shades of red during the lunch. As soon as I could, I asked the employee for details and said they should use better judgement and never do that again. Then I called the client, took full responsibility and offered to resign the account. In the end, we were able to work it out, but I think my actions helped show how seriously we, as an agency, treated these types of situations.

  • Standing ovation. That is all. xo

  • When the brown stuff hits the fan there is always an opportunity lurking in there somewhere.

  • Damn me and my memory—I don’t even recall that second incident.

    I think the initial instinct to defend an employee and give them the benefit of the doubt is always the right one, though.

  • I’m sorry that you and your team experienced this, but the fact that you made a change in process and shared the issue with the community you lead here, speaks volumes. I admire that your default was to defend your friend.

  • ginidietrichbdorman264only typists can’t type with one hand! Us two handed 2 finger + thumb for space bar folks can do it with ease!

  • jasonkonopinski#BringIt ! ginidietrichloves my new favorite hash tag

  • Darn. This stinks. And, I hate this for you and your team. However, you didn’t have to disclose this on the blog and we would have never known. But, the fact that you owned up to it shows your integrity. We all make mistakes, but it takes guts to own up to them. Well done.

  • NancyMyrlandginidietrichI have seen bike accident photos. At the best you are a Cyborg Gini. Real robots don’t bleed or have contusions they name.

  • I´m sorry Gini that you had to go through something like that. It´s not pretty at all. The great thing that you did, which I don´t see in many leaders, is understanding and doing something about. Not fire the employee (of course, if it´s not the case), but analyzing and taking the measures to not happen again. This is so rare in today´s business world.
    That´s why, in my opinion, some are leaders and the rest are, well, business owners. 
    Thumbs up! Well done!

  • I’m sorry these things happened. I imagine it has felt terrible. But. You’ve walked your talk, as always, and turned the problem into an opportunity to prove how ethical you, your team and your company’s brand are. Congratulations! Steady onward and upward!

  • burgessct

    And with this piece Gini you have taken the road less traveled, but the road which should be the only road. 
    Best to you,

    (A big fan, as you know)

  • The first scenario … OMG. That’s f’ed up. 

    Second scenario … I don’t think that you handled it wrong because you told everyone that you all dug in and you stood by your team. I’ve been at agencies where the client, the customers, etc. were believed over the team and we, as the team, definitely felt the lack of trust.

    You have to stand by your team. You also have to protect your brand. You’ve worked hard for it and you can let it deteriorate even if it means hurting feelings and addressing hard issues in the process.

    Live strong, Gini.  😉


  • I commend you. You once again lead by example and practice what your preach. I am sorry you had to go thru this, but alas it goes with the territory of being a business owner. It’s one of those parts of the business no one enjoys. 

    Keep doing what you are doing. Standing by your team, calling out spin and leading by example.

  • What to say that hasn’t been articulated eloquently and clearly already? First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you for writing and sharing this. I suppose anything else I could say would be superfluous. 🙂

  • I know you read that thing I wrote on Trial of the Century the other day, so I’ll just say that for me this falls into the being more human category and I admire your honesty here.

    I personally relish being wrong, maybe it’s a little masochist of me but I believe you get to learn a lot about your own personal character when things don’t go the way your way. And of course once you get good at closing the loop you also get to catch most problems before they blow up.

  • Dayngr

    belllindsay oh snap!!

  • KeithEcker1

    *Stands up and slow claps* (Seriously, a really great and inspiring post.)

  • Nice job being accountable and transparent, Gini – well done! Mistakes happen, we are all just human after all. You’ll come out stronger as a leader AND an agency, I promise. =)

  • susancellura

    Gini, Once again you lead by example. Thank you for sharing and inspiring us by walking the talk.

  • I can only imagine the pit in your stomach just before hitting publish on this. Well done.

  • Gini, you always lead from the front, and that’s great. Things go wrong in any business, and while those problems might not be our fault, we take responsibility. That is what you do and have done here. You are very brave to post this.

  • tnfletch

    It takes a lot of courage to post this. Many industry leaders are only willing to share the good stuff, the great ideas, and the big wins, but often it’s the tough stuff where the real lessons are learned. Because of your honesty you are inspiring others to be better leaders too. Thank you.

  • Ouch. It’s a rough situation all around, but the way you’re owning it and learning from it is impressive. I imagine it’s exactly what you’d advise your clients to do, come to think of it …

  • KateNolan

    Gini, I’m so sorry you and your team have had to work through this during such an exciting time for AD. You didn’t have to post this, but I commend you for sharing this with us. This post reinforces your commitment to integrity and honesty in the industry and shows everyone that it is possible to fully, and sincerely, apologize for mistakes. No generic “mistakes were made” posts here! I’m happy to see you don’t plan on letting this affect the trust you have in your team and that you’ve publicly stated that trust. It sucks when we (intentionally or not) make bad decisions, as we’ve all done, but you’ve handled this with grace. I hope the Christmas break brings you plenty of snow to play in and some serious R&R time!

  • martikonstant

    Totally moved by this post. Both examples are disarming. Thanks for sharing the raw facts in real time. So admire the ethics and the willing to share the lessons learned. When I had a communications firm with a staff of eight a few years back, I was once swindled by a customer I trusted. It was a lot of money. The lesson forever changed how I handle business finances. 

    As far as making judgements and decisions based on facts (sometimes riddled with emotion), I came out on the wrong side of a bad decision a few times. I was quick to the apology, but the damage is still cringeworthy. Being a leader is a ton of responsibility.

    Keep up the great work!

  • CommProSuzi

    In addition to its primary purpose, there are a number of lessons in this post.
    1 – Leading isn’t always rosy.
    2 – How to issue an apology and do it while preserving “face” for those involved.
    Have some wine & chocolate today. You’ve earned them.

  • Stories like this chill me to the bone. I can’t imagine someone stealing so much money and the feeling in the pit of your stomach. It must have been crushing.

    Just before Thanksgiving my friend Bob Borson, who writes the “Life of an Architect” blog was robbed. The thieves smashed their way into his house stole his wifes jewelry an one thing of his…a tiny wooden box that I had made for him.
    In the early days of my blog I mostly wrote about woodworking. I made a bunch of tiny boxes and because I like to tell stories, gave them names and personalities. It was fun story telling.
    The first box, who I named Henry, was my favorite and I even wrote him into my first novel as a clue for the detective of the same name.

    I was very poor at the time and so I sold some of my tiny boxes and Bob bought Henry. I was thrilled that he was going to my friends home to live on the mantle.

    The thieves took the tiny box and it broke my heart. I cried some.
    The point is, it was just a little thing, and I didn’t know the thieves, but the pain was real. What you went through must have been 100 times worse…or more, I don’t know.

    I do know one thing, you have integrity and I think you’re awesome for it. I hope that there is karma in the world and that the accountant (and the tiny box thieves) get a whole big helping of it right on top of their heads…causing brain damage and major paralysis.  🙂

  • martikonstant A ton of responsibility and not so much fun a lot of the time. It makes you wonder why people do this!

  • KateNolan Thanks, Kate! Maybe I’ll write about how we came to this decision. It was kind of a no brainer for me, because of my stance on ethical business behavior, but when attorneys get involved and lawsuits are possible, it makes it harder to be honest and transparent.

  • EleanorPie It is EXACTLY what we would advise our clients to do. It’s crisis communications 101…and many people rarely take the advice.

  • tnfletch Thank you. I’ll admit it took me about twice as long to write this as any normal post. 😐

  • Jon Stow Thanks, Jon.

  • jeanniecw The pit is still there!

  • susancellura Thanks, Susan!

  • CarrieMorgan And here I thought I was a robot.

  • KeithEcker1 Ha! Thanks, Keith!

  • JoeCardillo You know, that’s a great way of looking at things. It’s not so fun being wrong, but it does provide a great lesson.

  • biggreenpen Thank you, Paula. Now can we go back to talking about Rainbow Loom bracelets?

  • sydcon_mktg One of those parts of owning a business that totally sucks!

  • KateFinley Yeah, the first scenario was NOT fun. I remember getting the letter from the IRS. Talk about a pit in your stomach. And we had just lost clients on the business side and a bunch of money on the personal side. Our house was under water (like so many others) and payroll was hard to make. And then that. It was terrible.

  • burgessct Thank you, kind sir!

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen great idea! And since you just put up a Pinterest-related post, everyone’s attention will be directed that way post haste anyway, right? 🙂

  • DwayneAlicie I couldn’t imagine handling it any other way.

  • @corinamanea I’m sure there will be other mistakes and more responsibility for me to take, but hopefully this particular issue will never happen again.

  • lauraclick I just cannot imagine not owning up to it and having someone find out I knew about it. That would be worse than not owning up to it.

  • RobBiesenbach That’s good! LOL!

  • rdopping

    Clearly the mayor of Toronto hasn’t learned these lessons himself. We tried to fire him but regardless of his stature he’s one slippery son-of-a-gun. Sigh.

    No idea who you’re talking about here (and I don’t need to know) but I am sure glad you sorted it out. I suppose having a procedure for this sort of thing will keep out the riff-raff. That’s certainly a GOOD thing.

    The accountant thing sucks….he’s one of those genuinely bad people. Yuk!

  • rdopping

    ginidietrich Howie Goldfarb or how about a roll of life cherrysavers?

  • Word Ninja Thanks. I always become a mother hen. It’s bit me in the butt a few times.

  • Ali_Davies The brown stuff. LOL!

  • belllindsay xoxo

  • martinwaxman Ohhhh. The snarky emails sent TO the person are so bad. I had a boss who did that once. Such a bad, bad thing.

  • Mark_Harai It’s hard to take responsibility and sometimes it really isn’t fair. But alas.

  • terreece OMG! Your side note made me laugh out loud. Literally. Ha!

    Are you caught up on Scandal? I’m dying to talk to you about it!

  • JoelFortner Oh don’t worry … I stalk you on Facebook.

  • @jason_ Thanks, Jason. It’s always hard to admit a mistake, but I think about the big crises organizations face and they ALL could have been prevented with a swift and quick apology instead of sweeping it under the rug.

  • rdopping I don’t know if you listen to Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, which is a podcast on NPR. They have been having a FIELD DAY with Rob Ford for the past several weeks. It makes me laugh so hard!

  • ginidietrich I have that syndrome, too. And even our own “children” can disappoint us. Hope you find rest and peace over the holiday.

  • ginidietrich rdopping I heart Carl Kassell.

  • I am late to the party …and reasonably new to this community, however I am not surprised in the least that  Gini has stepped up and acknowledged her error in judgement.

    This incident (whatever it was) and they way Gini has conducted herself, speaks to her integrity, and sense of responsibility, and only helps to reinforce for me,  and I dare say,  for this entire community,  why we are drawn to associate with you. 

    Well done Mrs. D. !!  

    (Pretty sure you have kept your spot on Santa’s “nice” list……this year)

  • Wow… that’s very chilling. 
    Sorry to hear you had to do that! That’s never something easy to do. But by all morals and ethics, you had to do it. At least I can back you and say you’re a prime example of what a leader should be. 
    Stay strong, Gini! You’re an inspiration to new young pups like me. 
    Now, it’s a good time to re-evaluate why you think the person was overworked/ stressed to the point where they did what they did. It’s always good to learn from mistakes.

  • corinamanea

    ginidietrich Yep, but being conscious about it makes all the difference.

  • Word Ninja You know, you’re right. That’s a great way of looking at it.

  • ExtremelyAvg I LOVE your tiny box story, Brian.

  • SpinSucks

    erinbury william_ruz I am very sorry this happened. I wish I could take it back. ^gd

  • ginidietrich

    RedPencilPR Thank you, Helena.

  • JRHalloran Yep…we’ve done exactly that. No real answers yet, but we’re dissecting it.

  • Digital_DRK I’m pretty sure Mrs. D is my husband’s grandmother!

  • ExtremelyAvg I love this story, too! I mean, not that it happened, but what came out of it.

  • CommProSuzi I think I shall take your prescription. Thank you!

  • RedPencilPR

    ginidietrich You are most welcome, Gini.

  • I love you Gini Dietrich, really.  You give me faith in humanity when so many other people undermine it. You are a success story WITH ethics.  You make me want to Lean In so hard to do it my way.
    It means a tremendous amount to me, and this entire community. Thank you.

  • ginidietrich KateNolan ” when attorneys get involved and lawsuits are possible, it makes it harder to be honest and transparent.”
    Isn’t that sad?

  • Pamela Grow

    I love you Gini.  What a role model.

  • Wow Gini. You deserve major respect. Way to do the right thing! 
    Now, “too much work,” and “feeling overwhelmed” are no excuses for unethical behavior. Period. I don’t see every working mother start lying and stealing just because they’re overworked and overwhelmed. Obviously, I am clueless to what happened here but I do know that everyone has to make those choices and most people choose the ethical path regardless of situation. 
    I’d love to learn what principles you’ve learned and will apply. We’re currently discussing the difference between non-negotiables and zero-tolerance principles and how to enforce non-negotiables. It’s crazy how much thinking and emotion is going into making the right decisions…

  • Pingback: Apologies and Leaders » APRwriter()

  • rdopping

    ginidietrich rdopping No. but I will now. 

    Not to take away from your post but the man is so so sad. He is now being sued for libel by Vision TV. Not sure on the details. That guy needs some serious PR.

  • rdopping He is sad, but he’s a marvelous train wreck. He’s so fun to watch…just to see what he’ll say next.

  • Gini Dietrich

    Thanks, Amy! I’m kind of glad yesterday is over.

  • Amy McCloskey Tobin

    I totally understand – had a friend do something similar.

  • Sweet Gini. We love you, and know where your heart is. We support you always. I’m so sorry…
    It’s hard to understand why we’re experiencing bad things at the time, do we? But, in the end, your integrity, true heart, and beautiful soul will always shine through. Then, with life experience in hand, you willingly help everyone around you to know, there’s a light on the other side. xoxoxo

  • Being a leader is NOT always fun, but you are a good one Gini… are you perfect, no, who is? We all do our best and protect our ‘chicks’, it’s what we’re supposed to do. Sometimes we are blinded by that since they are one of our own. You handled this well, I honestly think you did. Once again, you’ve shown why so many of us respect you. You’re human and you’re ok with that. 😀

  • Doing the right thing is always, well, the right thing.You always strive to do the right thing, and correct it when you don’t make the mark.What impresses me is your utter bravery in laying out these situations so publicly here on Spin Sucks so others can learn from your example

  • ginidietrich Well, at least now you can point to an instance in which you actually do what you recommend. It doesn’t exactly make the experience worthwhile, I’d imagine, but still. It’s something. Hope you all get a chance to relax this weekend!

  • Catherineruze

    A true leader does not apologize hiding behind words, a true leader speaks
    up and publicly apologizes as she publicly undermined the poor accused at the
    time, when they were merely trying to speak their truth. Gina Dietrich this is
    not an honest apology, purely a sugar coat apology to make yourself feel better
    and save face. If you are honestly sorry you should publicly share what the
    incident was as you freely did when it was made public, and save the reputation of the person you publicly wronged.

  • Catherineruze Hi Catherine, while I’m not here to speak for ginidietrich, I am the content director for Spins Sucks and Arment Dietrich, and as such have been privy to the circumstances of these past few weeks. We have taken all the steps humanly possible from a *legal* perspective, and unfortunately – legally – after many discussions with our attorneys, our hands are tied. We simply are not allowed to publicly share identifying details.

  • Catherineruze Hi Catherine. Thanks for the different thinking on this. If you were a consistent part of our community, you would likely know which situation I am talking about…and that I did not publicly wrong anyone or harm their reputation. What I did do wrong is publicly defend an employee who I trusted implicitly. Something I think every one of us would want our boss to do. As soon as new facts arose, I got this post written. I did want to mention the incident, but was advised against it by our counsel.

  • KensViews Or maybe it’s just a reminder to myself to not let it happen again. 🙂

  • DougLeavy What?!? I’m not perfect?? As if.

  • janbeery Thank you, Jan. Love you!

  • manamica It’s also crazy how much thinking and emotion goes into determining the non-negotiables and zero-tolarance principles.

  • AmyMccTobin We seriously have to start our Lean In club.

  • ginidietrich Catherineruze The legal situation aside (and I’ve experienced what it’s like to have your hands tied whether you want to provide full comment on something or not) – I’m reminded of JFK’s Profiles in Courage, where he directly and honestly points out that a hallmark of courage and leadership is not just doing the thing you believe in but also considering the implications for everyone involved and trying to do right by the humans affected, and not just talking points you can refer to later. 

    No decisions are made in a vacuum where every bit of information is instantly available and you can easily point out the good and evil, punish and reward appropriately, and always look back without regret at the hard choices. In that respect I think Gini’s response and decisions have been ethical.

  • CommProSuzi

    I am reminded of a saying my college PR prof was find of saying. “Your best friend is legal.”
    Certainly, we want legal to be aware of what we’re communicating and not be surprised by it. We want to make certain our counterparts can do their job if they are called upon to do so.
    When I was lucky enough to have in house counsel, I took advantage of that resource. I even learned a few things, and ultimately, made her job easier.

  • ginidietrichKensViews Sometimes going public helps to keep us on the “straight and narrow” And we all benefit!

  • ginidietrich AmyMccTobin We seriously do. The busier we get, the more important it is.

  • JoeCardillo Thank you, Joe.

  • Catherineruze I’m puzzled why you consider this to be a sugar-coated false apology. Publicly sharing the names of those involved does nothing to alleviate the situation, and would only drag it back out for everyone and the world to see. Gini did a masterful job of apologizing publicly without tossing more food to those with morbid curiosity. Those who are familiar with the situation have received the apology, and those of us who don’t know what’s going on don’t need to know. Quite frankly, the identities of those involved are none of our business.

  • DebraCaplick Catherineruze Masterfully said, Deb.

  • CommProSuzi

    My sentiments exactly, Deb! Thank you for posting!!!!

  • CommProSuzi

    Oh, it will likely happen again, but all will know that you’ll handle it deftly, graciously, and honestly, Gini. Chin up!

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