When I started my business a thousand years ago, we worked with an organization in an industry we didn’t believe in and with a day-to-day contact who, with one blow of the wind, could wind up in the same category as Enron and Bernie Madoff. But their CEO was a friend of mine from my agency days and he assured me that his job was to turn things around there—and needed my help to do that.
I was still young, both in age and owning a business, so I accepted the work. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, but it was a good learning experience in how to stand up for my ethics.
One of the tamest things this guy did was to ask me to have a former journalist who was on my team pretend like he was still a journalist and call a governor’s office to get them to admit what they were thinking when it came to this client’s business. I refused, and to this day, we all shake our heads when we talk about it.
The other thing he did, which we were never able to get him to stop doing in the few months we worked with him, was pretend he was someone else when dealing with vendors or customers he didn’t like. He had an email set up and “Scott” was the bad guy—and he was BAD. If you received an email from that account, you knew it wasn’t going to be good. And heaven forbid if you were a vendor whose invoice was past due. Whoa, Nelly! Bad.
On today’s episode of the Spin Sucks podcast, we are going to talk about the ethics behind fake personas in your business, and what to do if confronted with this behavior.