Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brad Lau Saga II

Singapore. (24 August 2010.  1230 hrs).

Brad Lau has responded to the accusations against him by posting a point by point rebuttal, supported with screen-shots of emails and SMS text messages.

In positioning his response, Brad adopted a non-confrontational approach and attributed the issue to a miscommunication between himself and the PR Manager of the restaurant.  The "tone" adopted in his blog was also non-emotional and was directed at the public at large and not towards the restaurant.

Public reaction to Brad's response has been negative with people being sceptical about his side of the story.  This is because Brad made three key mistakes.

Firstly, the timing and tone of his response is not congruent with a person who is the "victim" of a vicious attack on his integrity and character.  Taking 2 full days to respond and then asking for the public to be objective hints at guilt. 

Secondly, while Brad chose to offer a point by point rebuttal, he missed responding to some allegations.  This again is an indication of guilt.  As mentioned in an earlier post, being on the information defensive puts the responder at a disadvantage.

Thirdly, while Brad used screen-shots to substantiate his side of the story, considering the ground swell of bloggers criticising his actions, Brad failed to use third party endorsements to put other bloggers or restaurants he has reviewed on his side.  A stakeholder analysis will reveal that Brad's character and integrity is the main issue at hand.  Hence having one or two "supporters" who can substantiate his charcter and integrity would have helped strengthen his side of the story.

What Brad did do right was to elevate the issue to one of a miscommunication.  This, as highlighted in my earlier post on Handling Negative Feedback, is the correct move as it is difficult for the restaurant to dispute this.

In summary, what we can learn from this incident are three things: (a) In responding to stakeholders' negative feedback, the timing and tone of the response must match the incident to be believable; (b) taking the information initiative is always the preferred course of action as it requires the respondents to answer all your allegations.  Failing to respond adequately to any one allegation makes the responder look guilty; and (c) the importance of using third party endorsement to substantiate our claims.

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