Written by Noemi Pollack on April 6, 2011.
Judgment is that strange word that needs a “poor” or a “good” in front of it to make sense and really be descriptive of the word. Still, either can be subjective. What some consider poor judgment might be seen differently by others and vice versa.
But along comes a judgment call that creates such a tempest as in Go Daddy’s CEO Bob Parsons’ most recent elephant killing expedition in Africa, that the word “poor” in front of that particular judgment call does not apply, for Parson’s “poor” judgment in this case has been brought to another level.
As if killing an elephant “for the good of the hungry villagers,” according to Parsons was not enough, he had to produce a graphic video and then later rant in the face of fierce criticism about “how right he was to do the hunting and killing” and that most critics know in “their hearts that he was right to do it” — for the ‘cause’.
So how exactly did Parsons and his team expect this to go down? Did they not consider the consequences of an arrogant middle-aged American stepping in to help villagers, not with funds, nor education, nor farming tools and skills, but by actually doing the killing? Worse, apparently, it’s not the first such expedition, for according to Parsons he goes each year to Zimbabwe to hunt problem elephants. But this year, it was videoed — and to what purpose exactly?
If some advisor in Parsons’ team concocted this idea as a publicity gimmick, they need to be looking for another job. If Parsons himself wanted this, then he needs to surround himself with reputation managers who can see poor judgment in the making and have the wherewithal to dissuade and persuade him from taking such actions. If Parsons just likes to hunt, a good advice would be to do it very, very privately indeed and forget about attaching some “good cause” to his actions.
Or, as his Entrepreneur interview which took place before the “hunt” clearly shows, if he revels in courting controversy, let him also recognize that as a CEO of a billion dollar company, he cannot take on the persona of a renegade who defies responsibilities to his stakeholders as well as public opinion.
Parsons should have taken note of his own quote in that interview when he said, “You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched, improves.”
Too late for PR crises experts to work their magic on this one…
There is that old “no-brainer”… Judgment calls come before actions taken — with considerations given to potential consequences from all angles.