Summary of Masters of Disaster

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


CEOs show their true mettle in times of high-profile crisis – when damage control makes the difference between an organization’s failure or survival. A scandal that generates bad publicity can be equally dangerous. Crisis communications consultants Christopher Lehane and Mark Fabiani, working with award-winning writer Bill Guttentag, spell out the best tactics to use when one wrong move in how you or your company communicate about a scandal or failure could cause irreparable damage. Lehane and Fabiani, who planned and implemented former President Bill Clinton’s damage-control strategy during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, know how to cope with crisis. getAbstract recommends their counsel to all who could – on some really bad day – need to act quickly to save their company’s and their own reputation and credibility.

About the Authors

Christopher Lehane and Mark Fabiani are partners in Fabiani & Lehane, a communications firm that counsels corporate, entertainment, political and professional sports clients. Bill Guttentag is an Oscar-winning feature film and documentary writer-producer-director.



Welcome to Crisis Land

Scandal has become the fuel that helps feed the information bonfire. Information moves around the world at the speed of light. Today, 140-character tweets can have as much impact as front-page headlines. People quickly leverage any news leak for their own purposes and agendas. Leaders, listeners and viewers no longer trust information as they once did. A “feedback loop of distrust” has replaced the traditional news cycle, creating an ideal environment for scandal.

Scandals take many forms, but produce the same result: The public learns about them immediately. Scandals leave behind more losers – Enron, Lehman Brothers and baseball player Barry Bonds – than winners – Goldman Sachs, Bill Clinton and basketball star Kobe Bryant. If calamity, catastrophe or scandal blow down your door, activate three elements of damage control:

  • “Do no harm” – Get in front of the story, but do not try to spin it to your advantage. Counterspin: Stay honest and transparent. Never pass the buck; hold your organization accountable for its actions.
  • “Take a disciplined approach” – Crises occur in a fog, but you must see beyond the storm...

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