Is reporting bad news?

2013. május 20. 19:17
Elaine Cohen
CSR-Reporting

Now that we have established that bad news works, perhaps we can expect to be reading lots more bad news in future reports.

 On credibility, given that the most significant credibility builder is apparently bad news, the one thing that companies don't want to report, I asked the panel what bad news they include in their reports and what they consider bad news to actually mean. The consensus seemed to be that bad news includes: failure to meet targets, failure to address material issues due to significant challenges, and worsening of performance such as in the area of safety or GHG emissions. For bad news to be noticed, it also should not be hidden way and minimized to the point that it's unrecognizable as bad news. This also gave me the opportunity to tell the story of the work I did with GSK Romania in helping to prepare their first, local, CR Report, called Valuing your Trust. In my first meeting with the General Manager, Pascal Prigent, I asked: "What can we not report? What do you not want to include in this CR Report?" Pascal looked me, puzzled, as if this was a rather odd question. His response: "Nothing. You can include in the report anything that is relevant to telling our full, honest and authentic CR performance in all the necessary areas." I didn't actually find too much bad news to disclose at GSK Romania, after interviewing all the management team and tens of others, and reviewing mounds of data and information, but the open approach of leadership and willingness to be fully transparent in the interests of building trust and credibility is something that more reporters would do well to emulate.
 
Now that we have established that bad news works, perhaps we can expect to be reading lots more bad news in future reports. This may be totally depressing but at least we will trust everybody:).

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