This is another episode of “Interviews with Lynn,” a video series from Culloton + Bauer Luce on the issues facing public affairs and crisis management practitioners and their clients.
Lynn Holley, senior consultant at CBL and a former financial news anchor, interviews founding partners Dennis Culloton and Natalie Bauer Luce. These communications strategists offer a behind the scenes glimpse of guiding clients through all manner of crises from global pandemics to boardroom scandals. They’ve helped clients navigate cultural changes and political turmoil with an eye toward rebuilding reputations and renewing purpose.
Lynn Holley: In this in this highly charged political atmosphere that we find ourselves in today, how do you both manage to stay in balance? Because you do! I know both of you and that in itself is a challenge, so just let me ask you how you think about that.
Natalie Bauer Luce: Stay in balance in regards to?
Lynn Holley: You’re pretty even-handed when it comes to the political spectrum.
Natalie Bauer Luce: I have a blog post that was written by a colleague of ours. It’s very well written, it’s very timely but there’s a question mark in my head right now as to whether it’s the right thing to put out there.
Because we have to be mindful that we represent all wings of the spectrum if you will depending on on who our clients are and I think we always have to be mindful that we help convey and send the messages but we’re not the ones with the political message and that we have to be mindful of our clients and their issues and priorities and values.
So in my viewpoint, from a personal standpoint I have very strong opinions–Dennis knows them. But it’s always a question of you know, it’s what we do for a living, it’s reputation management and so is this something if I send out this tweet could it potentially create a problem and if the answer is leaning towards “yes,” it’s usually put your thumbs down.
Dennis Culloton: You know the the training that all three of us have had as journalists helped quite a bit and then I also got some legal training and I think that trying to stay as objective and cool-headed as possible we’re not judges. When we were in the news business together Lynn, you know we really tried to see both sides and get both sides across. We had personal opinions, you had personal feelings, but you try to set those aside and make sure that you’re bending over backwards to be fair.
So a lot of that upbringing if you will comes in handy when you’re talking to clients in crisis.
We’re not judges. We’re not trying to make them feel bad. We’re trying to help them get to where they need to go as an organization or as individuals to achieve their goals. And the more you realize that there’s lots of sides to some debates the better off you are.
I think how better off society would be if we all thought that way. It’s not always that simple.