Posts

On November 4, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press published the third title in its Best Practices Series, The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust by Patrick Donahue, PhD. The Power of Genuine Leadership draws upon Donahue’s doctoral research on the relationship between trust and authenticity, as well as his decades of experience working as a senior executive in leadership development at two global corporations.

The Power of Genuine Leadership is an accessible, clear guide on how to effectively – and measurably – build trust and enhance one’s leadership ability. “It can take a lifetime to earn a reputation of being a great leader, which is earned through consistent behavior over time,” says Donahue. “This book makes a complicated concept easier to digest through models, stories, assessments, and applicable tools.”

Donahue’s research reveals the true power of behavioral consistency as an essential yet under-appreciated driver of trust. His Authenticity Trust Model (ATM) helps readers visualize the relationships among the behavioral components that, when applied consistently, create deeper trust: communication, coaching, and respect.

Of the many valuable learnings in Donahue’s book, perhaps his most insightful, is that authenticity without guidelines is irresponsible; that authenticity without empathy is careless; and that humility is much more than a willingness to be vulnerable. Readers can assess their leadership strengths and development areas using the Authenticity Trust Assessment (ATA), which can be taken time and again to track progress and compare results for deeper analysis.

“With so many books, articles and webpages clamoring for our attention, it’s hard to decide what’s ‘worth the time.’ As a leadership professional, I can tell you, this book is a winner,” says Darryl Spivey of the Center of Creative Leadership. “Dr. Donahue captures the stories of leaders and their impact on people. The engaging anecdotes are entertaining and readable, but interwoven with valuable lessons of introspection, laser focus and excellence. It’s a quick, valuable and important book for leaders.”

The Power of Genuine Leadership is the third volume in the Logos Institute Best Practices Series. The Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership stands at the intersection of scholarship and practice, providing rigorous analysis and practical application of key leadership principles. The Logos Institute Best Practices Series showcases conceptual frameworks that help clarify complex issues, combined with insightful case studies, examples, and actionable tools, tips, and techniques that help leaders make smart choices and build competitive advantage.

“In each of the companies where I have had the privilege to have Patrick as a client, I have watched Patrick as he created leadership learning opportunities for high-potential future leaders from around the world,” says Publisher Helio Fred Garcia. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share Patrick’s insights into the relationship between authenticity and trust with the broader world.”

The Power of Genuine Leadership is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.com. Logos Institute Press is hosting a virtual book launch event on Thursday, December 10 at 5:00 pm EST, where attendees will have the opportunity to hear from the publisher, the author, and endorsers of the book. If you have not received an invitation or would like to request one, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/logos-institute-press-book-launch-for-the-power-of-genuine-leadership-tickets-129244719435?ref=estwhttps://www.eventbrite.com/preview?eid=129244719435

Many crises are not foreseeable, but civil unrest after the election is and leaders and organization should prepare for this.

On Monday, October 19, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia presented a pre-conference briefing on how to foresee the foreseeable and be ready for it when it happens around the US election at the Professional Speechwriters Association’s World Conference.

During this session, Garcia helped attendees understand a mindset to help leaders think through what to do and say ahead of election day, how to organize their thinking (and schedule) for various Election-Day scenarios, and how to prepare for and respond to five possible scenarios for what might happen immediately after the election.

Watch the full webinar here:

On Friday, October 23, 2020, Helio Fred Garcia spoke with Deirdre Breakenridge of Women Worldwide about the power of communication to both ignite and inspire positive change, as well as provoke hurt, harm, and violence.
During their exchange, the pair spoke about Garcia’s journey to the field of communication, how communication can be used to either ignite the better angels in our nature or appeal to the very worst impulses within us, and key lessons from his latest book, Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. Garcia also spoke about the ways that we have seen the continuation and intensification of the patterns he has outlined in his book in the past several months, including the spread of mis-information, the dehumanization of at risk groups, and more. They also spoke about how engaged citizens, civic leaders, and emerging leaders can hold people accountable who use incendiary language that predictably causes harm.

Garcia’s closing message:  “Words have power.”

Watch the full interview here:

A version of this post appeared in CommPro.biz.

Last week Cornell University’s Alliance for Science published the first comprehensive study of coronavirus misinformation in the media, and concluded that President Trump is likely the largest driver of the such misinformation.

Lost in the News Cycle

In any other administration this would have led the news for at least a week.

But the report came five days after President Donald J. Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. It came four days after publication of a massive New York Times investigation that revealed that President Trump paid no federal income taxes for years. It came just two days after the debate debacle in which the President refused to condemn white supremacy and seemed to endorse the Proud Boys. And it came just hours before the news that the President and First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19.

I wish the President and the First Lady a speedy and complete recovery.

But it is important that this news not be lost, and that the President be held accountable for the consequences of his words, actions, and inaction.

Language, Inaction, and Consequences

I am a professor of ethics, leadership, and communication at Columbia University and New York University. This summer my book about Trump’s language and how it inspires violence was published. I finished writing Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It in February. But since then the effect of Trump’s language has been even more dangerous.

In the book, I document how charismatic leaders use language in ways that set a powerful context that determines what makes sense to their followers. Such leaders can make their followers believe absurdities, which then can make atrocities possible. If COVID-19 is a hoax, if it will magically disappear, if it affects only the elderly with heart problems, then it makes sense for people to gather in large crowds without social distancing or masks.

There’s just one problem. None of that is true. But Trump said all those things. And his followers believed him. And the President and his political allies refused to implement policies to protect their citizens.

What The President Knew, and When The President Knew It

As I write this, 210,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and the President is being treated for it at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

But it didn’t have to happen. Three weeks ago Dr. Irwin Redlener, head of Columbia University’s Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative, estimated that if the nation had gone to national masking and lock-down one week earlier in March, and had maintained a constant masking and social distancing policy, 150,000 of fatalities could have been avoided.

Trump knew about the severity of the virus in February and March.

In taped discussions Trump told Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward what he knew about how dangerous COVID-19 is:

  • It is spread in the air
  • You catch it by breathing it
  • Young people can get it
  • It is far deadlier than the flu
  • It’s easily transmissible
  • If you’re the wrong person and it gets you, your life is pretty much over. It rips you apart
  • It moves rapidly and viciously.
  • It is a plague

But he was telling the nation the opposite.

“Infodemic” of COVID-19

The Report Cover

President Trump likes to label anything he doesn’t agree with Fake News. But it turns out that he’s the largest disseminator of misinformation about Coronavirus.

Cornell University’s Alliance for Science analyzed 38 million pieces of content published in English worldwide between January 1 and May 26, 2020. It identified 1.1 million news articles that “disseminated, amplified or reported on misinformation related to the pandemic.”

On October 1, 2020 the Alliance published its report. It notes,

“These findings are of significant concern because if people are misled by unscientific and unsubstantiated claims about the disease, they may attempt harmful cures or be less likely to observe official guidance and thus risk spreading the virus.”

Its conclusion:

“One major finding is that media mentions of President Trump within the context of different misinformation topics made up 37% of the overall ‘misinformation conversation,’ much more than any other single topic.

The study concludes that Donald Trump was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic.’

In contrast only 16% of media mentions of misinformation were explicitly ‘fact-checking’ in nature, suggesting that a substantial quantity of misinformation reaches media consumers without being challenged or accompanied by factually accurate information.”

But Trump may be responsible for more than the 37% of the news stories that name him. The report says that

” a substantial proportion of other topics was also driven by the president’s comments [but did not explicitly name him], so some overlap can be expected.

Graphic from Cornell Alliance for Science Report

The most prevalent misinformation was about miracle cures. More than 295,000 stories mentioned some version of a miracle cure. (Note that the study looked only at stories that were published before the end of May, long before the president’s statements about a vaccine being ready by the end of October.)

The report notes that Trump prompted a surge of miracle cure stories when he spoke of using disinfectants internally and advocated taking hydroxychloroquine.

The second most prevalent topic, mentioned in nearly 50,000 stories, was that COVID had something to do with the “deep state.” The report notes,

“Mentions of conspiracies linked to alleged secret “new world orders” or ‘deep state’ government bodies existed throughout the time period and were referenced in passing in conversations that mentioned or listed widespread conspiracies. Indeed, President Trump joked about the US State Department being a ‘Deep State’ Department during a White House COVID press conference in March.”

The third most prevalent misinformation was about COVID-19 being a Democratic hoax, mentioned in more than 40,000 stories.

 

Human Consequences of Misinformation

The report closes with a warning: Misinformation has consequences:

“It is especially notable that while misinformation and conspiracy theories promulgated by ostensibly grassroots sources… do appear in our analysis in several of the topics, they contributed far less to the overall volume of misinformation than more powerful actors, in particular the US President.

In previous pandemics, such as the HIV/AIDS outbreak, misinformation and its effect on policy was estimated to have led to an additional 300,000 deaths in South Africa alone.

If similar or worse outcomes are to be avoided in the present COVID-19 pandemic, greater efforts will need to be made to combat the “infodemic” that is already substantially polluting the wider media discourse.”

In my book, I help engaged citizens, civic leaders, and public officials recognize dangerous language and then confront those who use it. I urge such citizens and leaders to hold those who use such language responsible for the consequences.

I wish President Trump a full and fast recovery. He and those closest to him have now been affected by their own denial of science. I hope that now he can start to model appropriate safe behavior.

But even as Trump is being treated in the hospital his campaign says it will stay the course, including an in-person rally for Vice President Mike Pence the day after the vice-presidential debate in several days. This is both irresponsible and dangerous.

I urge civic leaders, engaged citizens, and public officials, regardless of party, to stop having super-spreader events such as in-person rallies. And finally to begin modeling responsible behavior: Wear a mask, maintain social distancing. Masking and distancing are not political acts; they are a civic responsibility.

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

~ George Washington Carver

So: You’re wearing a mask and keeping a socially responsible distance. You’re staying safe but taking long daily walks in the nearly empty streets of New York City to keep yourself healthy and sane. You peer into the dark, empty storefronts as you stroll along. You arrive at the place you always found familiar and comforting; it now looks abandoned and forbidding. There is no human to greet you, only a few words on a single page attached to the front door. Almost every door on every street has a similar sign.

As the days of shutdown have dragged on, I’ve become intrigued by these signs, snapping pictures of at least 100 of them. I’ve read the words again and again. They are breathtaking in their sameness, leading me to the question: How much difference can a few words on a simple sign possibly make?

Businesses reopening in the aftermath of the current crisis may soon find out.

Sometimes the message on the door is just one word – “Closed.” Not terribly helpful, is it? That feels more like the end of a relationship than a reassurance that you and your spot will be reunited in the future.

While heavily trafficked commercial chains may have a following who look for convenience alone, a cozy neighborhood haunt cannot exist without building an emotional bond – appreciation, affection, even love – with its customers. When that business closes indefinitely, or its hours are suddenly and severely curtailed, anxious customers need to see words of gratitude, emotion, and empathy: “We thank you.” “We appreciate you.” “We miss you.” “We understand what you are going through because we are going through it, too.”

Empathy should start right there at the front door.

Surprisingly, even in these difficult times, when those words of connectivity matter most, when customers expect to find love letters from deeply grateful owners, they find crisis boilerplate instead, often written in haste, dashed off as a formality and perhaps copied from a neighboring establishment. Even worse, sometimes, the desired words do not appear at all.

That strategically placed sheet of paper – occasionally drafted with the assistance of a lawyer or a communications professional – may be instructive but it’s not terribly personal. Or authentic. Or meaningful.

That kind of corporate jargon often makes me stop reading – I imagine you know the phrases: “our top priority,” “we are closely monitoring,” “we are committed to …”  But owners use them because they know they need to communicate quickly with customers coming to the door, and they want the message to sound official. Professional communicators reading this will understand that the sign on the door is a kind of stand-by statement to let the entire world, including those critical customers, know what is going on in that moment and what they can expect while the crisis – and temporary closure – continues.

As my colleague, Helio Fred Garcia, has written in The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis, an insightful guide to crisis decision-making (even during one not of your own making), critical communications like that sign on the door should embrace five fundamental elements:

  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT – a statement of awareness that something has happened.
  2. EMPATHY – an expression of empathy or sympathy to those who are hurting or inconvenienced – and in COVID-19 times, everyone is hurting and inconvenienced.
  3. VALUES – a declaration of the business’ values – including how much that business values those customers.
  4. APPROACH – a summary of the actions the business is taking in the wake of the crisis.
  5. COMMITMENT – a statement that sets future expectations, i.e., “We will keep you up-to-date as we hear any important news and will let you know when we can reopen. We will be here for you online even while we are closed.”

[For a quick summary of these elements, see the Leadership Lesson on Standby Statements]

In all fairness, I’m sure these independent owners also mean to communicate how much they love and miss their customers. But their words – crafted out of necessity and in great haste from a template – don’t quite resonate. They don’t quite say: We are closed, but we miss you and are still there for you.

Contrast those signs with recent updates that a certain coffee company has posted on Instagram – the digital front door for many contemporary consumers. Note the likes and comments.

So, for owners of shuttered businesses – small or large, mighty or nimble – here are two important questions you should ask yourself:

1. How can you communicate your message in conversational human language, rather than boilerplate jargon? You’re dealing with ordinary humans. Why not sound like one?

2. How can you include a message of gratitude at the very top of the page? Owners should express their sincere thanks to the customer who has arrived at the door in the first sentence or two. What would happen if the language of the sign started there? Only good things, I promise you.

Here are some signs that hit the mark beautifully. Which ones do you like best?

One last thought: many of the signs that I see on the doors have been left there unchanged for weeks.

Dear shop owners— It’s not too late to change that sign!

Love,

Your Devoted Customer

Leaders are judged based on how they deal with their biggest challenges.

In the COVID-19 crisis we see a contrast of leaders so stark that it can serve as a leadership laboratory for future generations to study.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shows a steady, compassionate, and urgent tone as he informs New Yorkers and the broader world about the reality of COVID-19 in his state. His briefings are direct, honest, consistent, and clear. He sprinkles his commentary with expressions of concern for health workers and hospital patients, he invokes his parents, his brother, and his daughters. And he tells the truth.

President Donald Trump, on the other hand, shows none of these qualities. He bungled the first two months of the pandemic in the U.S. He denied the severity of the virus and downplayed the risk of contagion. He alternates between the rosy – churches full at Easter – and the gloomy – social distancing for much longer. There is still not a whole-of-government response. Rather, there are fragments of a government response. He leaves it to governors to figure out supply chains, even as governors confess that they’re bidding against each other – and the federal government – to secure desperately-needed medical equipment.

President Trump heaps praise on himself and expects others to do as well. He recently bragged during a COVID-19 press briefing that he was the most popular person on Facebook.

Governor Cuomo, who, according to Politico, has a “long-standing revulsion to social media,” has nevertheless “rapidly emerged as an internet star.” (Earlier this week, #Cuomosexual was trending on Twitter.)

President Trump contradicts his own public health experts, who then have to clean up the mess in his absence. He improvises on the existence of testing equipment, medical equipment, and miracle drugs that don’t exist. He violates every principle of effective leadership in a crisis.

Winston Churchill admonished, “You must look at the facts because the facts look at you.” President Trump ignores the facts in front of him and invents new ones.

Trump insists on calling COVID-19 the “China Virus” or “Chinese Virus” even though the World Health Organization advises against naming diseases for a particular location because of the stigma involved. And last week the FBI warned about a wave of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans in this country.

Since the pandemic started my team and I have been studying the best and worst practices in communicating in a COVID-19 world. The best include:

  1. Begin all communication, whether written or verbal, with a statement of values: Don’t dive directly into the facts. Create an emotional connection.
  2. Show you care. Calibrate communication with empathy.
  3. Be direct, no euphemism: It’s confusing and causes unnecessary stress.
  4. Tell the truth, the whole truth: Your stakeholders are in this for the long term.
  5. Address all relevant dimensions of the crisis: A narrow lens is inadequate.
  6. Remember that expectations are dynamic. Calibrate current expectations.
  7. Communicate through multiple levels and channels. Be consistent.
  8. Align on values: Provide detail appropriate to each level and circumstance.
  9. Convey a positive attitude: Convey urgency short of provoking panic.
  10. Express emotion, vulnerability, and humility. Effective leaders do.

Governor Cuomo scores on all elements of this scorecard. The President, sadly, misses the mark. Other leaders can learn from both.

Written by: Maida K. Zheng and Raleigh Mayer

When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.

– Winston Churchill

I salute the United States Navy.

The Navy – and the other branches of the U.S. military – serve the nation every day, protecting every American’s right to freedom, a privilege we often take for granted.

But right now, the Navy is undergoing a reputational nightmare, and it’s one that could have been avoided.

Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was fired after an email he authored regarding COVID-19 expressing his concerns about the potential – and very likely – harm it posed to his ship and its sailors.

The Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, spoke to reporters about his decision to fire Crozier at the Pentagon in a press conference April 2, 2020. Modly stated the reason Capt. Crozier was fired was the Navy’s loss of confidence in Crozier’s ability to lead as well as the disclosure of an internal memo to the media. Modley suggested that the leak occurred because of Crozier’s carelessness in copying too many people on an email that should have been classified, demonstrating poor risk management and poor judgement.

Navy Brass Felt Blindsided by Fired Carrier Captain's Emailed Appeal

Modly would not tell reporters who was copied on the correspondence, stating “I will not comment on that,” during his Pentagon press conference. That may have been one of his first mistakes. When communicating an issue, a “no comment” response will always be met with suspicion and conveys defensiveness, and the refusal may be interpreted as guilt.

To be clear, the reputational damage to the Navy was not necessarily because of the firing itself, which may or may not have been warranted.  The outrage is due to the manner in which Modly communicated that decision.

Effective communicators know that the framework for guiding the choice, style, and timing of a message should always start with the following question: “What would reasonable people appropriately expect a responsible organization to do in this situation?”

By focusing on damaging hypotheticals such as “[the leak] unnecessarily raised alarms with the families of our Sailors and Marines with no plan to address those concerns” Modly accidentally communicated a lack of empathy toward the seriousness of the situation and what the families were likely already feeling (anxiety).

Modly questioned the professionalism of Crozier, who at that point was literally seen as a hero by service members for risking his career for their safety.  “I could reach no other conclusion than that Captain Crozier had allowed the complexity of his challenge with COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally,” Modly said.

Had Modly employed the best-practiced principle of crisis communication and asked himself “what would reasonable people expect a responsible organization to do in this situation” he likely would have realized how critical (for the sake of the Navy’s reputation) it was for him to publicly state that this was an unprecedented situation, and support Crozier because reasonable people expect the Navy to care. Showing you care does not mean you have to give up on good order and discipline. Reasonable people understand that if a policy or order was broken, there will be consequences.

In every crisis there is opportunity, and when this story broke, the Navy had an opportunity to back Capt. Crozier and explain the actions that had been taken and planned to be taken to ensure the service members would be safe and that the mission would not be abandoned. After all – those plans were already in motion according to Modly. Instead, they punished the person the public had already fallen in love with and thus appeared callous in doing so.

With all that said, below are some tips for success in a situation such as this.

  1. Reasonable people expect an organization to care, first and foremost.  The single biggest predictor of loss of trust in a crisis is the perception that you don’t care.
  2. First mover advantage matters. Whoever is first to define the crisis, motives, and actions is the one who controls the interpretation of the event.
  3. A well-structured stand-by statement, prepared ahead of time for adaptation, is key in ensuring you are communicating effectively during a crisis.

Logos Consulting Group provides the following template for the best possible outcome in tough, touchy, sensitive situations:

  1. Acknowledgement. Open by stating awareness of the event or issue. Do not use euphemisms, which are confusing to audiences, especially those under stress.
  2. Empathy. If there are victims or potential victims, express empathy.
  3. Values. Describe the organization’s values that will give context to the response to the crisis.
  4. Approach. Describe ways the organization is handling the response to the crisis, including what has been done or what is under way.
  5. Commitment. Outline the substantive or procedural commitments you can make now.

On Sunday, April 5, several media outlets confirmed that Capt. Crozier tested positive for COVID-19; the Navy declined to comment.

On Monday, April 6, reports of a leaked speech of Modly speaking to Sailors in Guam was released via several media outlets.

“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either a) too naive, or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said to the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew.

The speech continues in this manner with Sailors audibly yelling “what the F***” in the background.

Additionally on April 6, Modly wrote a response to a New York Times op-ed where Theodore Roosevelt’s great-grandson (Tweed Roosevelt) called Capt. Crozier a hero. In his response, Modly said he has the utmost respect for the Roosevelt family, but that Tweed is wrong — “he simply doe not have access to the relevant facts that led to the captains dismissal.” The letter was deleted shortly after it went live.

The Golden Hour of Crisis Response for communicators and medical professionals describes the urgency to “stop the bleeding.” Each day the Navy delays in effectively communicating and showing true empathy causes more and more reputational harm…and bleeding.

We truly hope Capt. Crozier and his crew recover. Fair winds and following seas.

-30-

 

Maida Kalic Zheng is a fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, where she helps corporate leaders maximize their presence, enhance communication, and become more sophisticated at managing their relationships and reputations.

 

Raleigh Mayer, the Gravitas Guru and principal of Raleigh Mayer of Consulting and Senior Fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, helps leaders elevate presence, enhance communication, and become more sophisticated at managing their relationships and reputations. She is an advisor, coach, educator, and speaker, serving large corporations, private firms, and individual executives.

 

NEW YORK, NY (March 25, 2020) – As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worsens, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership advises clients to be prepared and vigilant in the seven dimensions of COVID-19.

The unprecedented scope of this crisis makes it difficult to predict what will happen next, and is unlike all others: COVID-19 unlike prior pandemics, natural disasters, and corporate implosions, is a situation that is constantly changing, and fundamentally reshaping the management of response.

“We have reviewed thousands of communications by CEOs, university presidents, NGO executive directors, secretaries general, and public officials,” said Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting. “We identified patterns that help leaders and their organizations make smart choices and avoid unnecessary reputational damage and inadvertent self-inflicted harm.”

The unique challenge of COVID-19, Garcia explains, is that “It incorporates seven crises in one,” and he advises leaders across all industries to “be aware of every category that they must address”.

“There’s a danger that a leader might be so focused on any one of the dimensions that he or she will miss the need to address the others,” explained Garcia.

 

The Seven Dimensions of the COVID-19 Crisis Are:
  • Public Health
  • Business
  • Economic
  • Information
  • Competence of Government
  • Social
  • Mental Health

Media personnel should contact: Maida K. Zheng, mzheng@logosconsulting.net or 646-338-0422

WORDS ON FIRE:    

The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It

 

Author and leadership communication professor Helio Fred Garcia documents President Donald Trump’s increasingly dangerous rhetoric, from his campaign through the first 2 ½ years in office, and how some lone wolves were motivated by that rhetoric to commit violence, in his new book, WORDS ON FIRE: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. Published by Radius Book Group, Words on Fire is scheduled for release on June 30, 2020.

WORDS ON FIRE is about the power of communication to do great harm, and how civic leaders and engaged citizens can hold leaders accountable to prevent such harm. Garcia focuses on the language President Trump uses that conditions an audience to accept, condone, and commit violence against a targeted group, rival, or critic. The book includes a history of such rhetoric and identifies a playbook of twelve forms of communication that typically precede acts of mass violence up to and including genocide. The Nazis used all twelve; the Rwandan Hutu used ten. Trump uses all twelve. Garcia also introduces a new, more accessible name for rhetoric that provokes violence: lone-wolf whistle violence, on the model of “dog whistle” politics, where politicians use coded language that conveys one meaning, usually benign, to most people, but a different meaning to members of a certain group or followers of a certain ideology.

“In my teaching and research, I study patterns: patterns that help leaders enhance competitive advantage, build trust and loyalty, and change the world for the better. I also note patterns that predictably, even if unintentionally, lead to hurt, to harm, and to violence,” said Garcia. “In reflecting on the President’s language, I noticed a pattern: He was using the very same rhetorical techniques that had preceded previous mass murders, including genocides. I worried that, left unchecked, he would continue, with increasingly dire consequences.”

WORDS ON FIRE describes the changes in the nation’s political culture and media that led to Trump’s nomination and presidency. It profiles leaders who dialed back their rhetoric when it was shown to put people’s lives at risk. The book closes with a call to action: We can learn the lessons of today to prepare for tomorrow, to help civic leaders, engaged citizens, journalists, and public officials recognize the phenomenon and take steps to hold other leaders accountable in the future when they use such language.

 

Advance Praise for Words on Fire

“Language is power, and powerful. It can uplift, or harm. Helio Fred Garcia is an astute student of language and communication. This book offers historic examples, keen insights and valuable advice on recognizing patterns of language that can harm or lead to violence.”

—  Former Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security spokesman, Col. David Lapan, USMC (Ret)

Words on Fire serves as a guiding light during this dark moment in our history. Every American should read this timely, imperative book if we are to save our democracy.”

—  Gold Star Parent and Immigrant American Khizr Khan

“Words On Fire should be mandatory reading and a guide book for every journalist, business school, religious leader, and elected official. Important institutions in our society and culture have the affirmative responsibility to stand up and speak out against the users and use of dangerous language.”

—  James E. Lukaszewski, America’s Crisis Guru®

“This is a highly readable guide to how we can call out and combat Trump’s toxic language and malignant agenda, and push back against the corrosive forces that enable Trumpism and put our country in peril.”

—  Evan Wolfson, Founder, Freedom to Marry

“Garcia, a proven scholar on communication, identifies rhetoric that breeds violence, affirms autocracy, and prompts terrorism as well as critical responses to those developments that serve as antidotes to trouble and strategies for building a more equitable, united world.”

— Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President Emeritus, Interfaith Alliance

 

About the Author

For nearly 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. Garcia is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world including. He has worked and taught in dozens of countries on six continents.

Since 1988 Garcia has been an adjunct professor of management at the New York University Stern School of Business executive MBA program, where he teaches crisis management and was named Executive MBA Great Professor in 2016. He is an adjunct associate professor of management and communication at NYU School of professional studies where he teaches communication strategy, communication ethics and law, and crisis communication.

Garcia is also an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he teaches ethics, crisis, and leadership.

He is a senior fellow at the Institute of Corporate Communication at Communication University of China. He is a contract lecturer at the Defense Information School and at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

###

Media Contact:

Johanna Ramos-Boyer

JRB Communications, LLC

703-646-5137

Johanna@jrbpr.biz

New York, NY (May 7, 2019) – On Friday May 3, 2019, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership honored Dr. Guanpeng (Steven) Dong with the 2019 Logos Institute Outstanding Leader Award. The award reception was held in the evening at the Logos Institute, where dozens of guests came to honor Dr. Dong.

Dr. Dong is an accomplished strategic communicator, crisis advisor, educator, and philanthropist with a multinational presence. He is the Chair and Professor of Media and Public Affairs for the Faculty of Professional Studies and Executive Education of Communication University of China in Beijing, the leading school that prepares journalists and PR practitioners. He also serves as Vice Chair of the China Public Relations Association and is a public relations advisor to the senior-most government officials in the Chinese government.

Logos president Helio Fred Garcia presenting the Logos Institute Outstanding Leader Award to Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong, May, 2019

 

“I’m excited to accept this honor and to reunite with my friend Fred. I also look forward to potential opportunities to collaborate with Logos in the future in terms of joint book publishing and teaching,” said Dr. Dong.

Logos Institute president Helio Fred Garcia and Dr. Dong have been friends since 2011. In 2015, Dr. Dong invited Garcia to teach strategic communication in Tsinghua University through its Institute for Strategic Communication and Public Relations, of which Dr. Dong was a founding director. Garcia has been a Senior Fellow of Communication University of China since 2015.