Fallston Group

Brian Williams: His Final “Story”?

As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

NBC’s Brian Williams, one of television’s most recognizable faces, should have taken Warren Buffett’s advice more seriously. Instead, due to false reporting and recounting of a 2003 Iraq War mission, he has taken quite the fall from grace. With his credibility now in question and even more reports of “tall tales,” America watches as yet another public figure’s reputation is ruined.

Williams Pays the Price of Crisis

As we always say at Fallston Group, crisis costs time, money, customers and ultimately careers. This instance is no different.

  • Time: Countless hours have been and will continue to be spent as NBC facilitates an internal investigation into the alleged fabulism of Williams. The investigative unit will examine previous stories reported by Williams as far back as coverage from Hurricane Katrina.
  • Money: An investigation costs money. Viewers cost money. Ratings cost money. All of these expenses will add up for NBC.
  • Customers: NBC took a double-digit hit the first night it aired without Williams, allowing ABC World News Tonight to swoop in and claim about 347,000 more viewers than NBC Nightly News. Unfortunately, NBC will continue to struggle with viewership as it rebuilds and manages its reputation while taking action against Williams.
  • Careers: On February 10, 2015, NBC announced that it had suspended Williams for six months without pay. Although Williams was not fired, his career still hangs in the balance and viewers question NBC’s action.

If you find your credibility or the credibility of your company in question, do not wait to take action. The strengths and shortcomings of leaders are magnified during times of crisis, and if unprepared, you will be forced to pay with most, if not all, of the above.

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