This year's International Women's Day celebrations have coincided with several female leaders being embroiled in high-profile events and challenging situations:
- Angela Merkel, The German Chancellor, testified in front of the parliamentary committee investigating the Dieselgate scandal. The German government didn’t drop the ball on keeping tabs on Volkswagen, the Chancellor said. “We had no scandal. Volkswagen had a scandal,” she said during a 130-minute hearing;
- Park Geun-hye, a former President of South Korea, has been impeached in the culmination of a political scandal involving interventions to the presidency from her aide;
- Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, has vowed to fight the European Union over its demand that Britain pays a £52 bn "divorce" bill when it leaves the bloc, ahead of triggering Article 50, paving the way for the UK to leave the EU.
Being a female leader often means having to endure the same - if not more - pressure as their male peers. Why? Perhaps, there are fewer of them, which tends to attract a disproportionately higher level of public attention, with their decisions and motivations scrupulously scrutinised. Yet, they have an equal opportunity to "fail". And we don't want them to!
I'm personally a great believer that any successful issues or crisis response - like the way Angela Merkel aced the parliamentary committee grilling - can only be ever achieved when preparation meets opportunity. It is the main point of my recent opinion piece for PR Moment on Preparing CEOs for day one of a crisis.
Moreover, issues and crisis preparedness trainings should not be seen not as one-offs. It should be seen exactly the same way as going to the gym. It's not a question of whether an executive can do it (crisis communication or going to the gym, or both!).
It's all about the results and outcomes they are able to achieve when in the spotlight!
Contrary to popular belief, it’s the first 24 hours that are likely to be the easiest part of a crisis for a modern CEO. Provided the company in question is properly set up to deal with adverse events, of course.