You’ve probably heard about the latest controversy at AOL, so I won’t take time here to recount it. Nor will I judge CEO Tim Armstrong because I know that no matter how well-planned one’s remarks are, they can come out wrong. I’m not saying he didn’t mean what he said; I have no way of knowing that. I’ve just learned over the years not to judge people unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
However, I will say that when it comes right down to it, people matter. When executives make decisions that limit or lower the benefits their employees have come to enjoy, it often backfires, and when you add the power of social media, the chance of that happening is greatly amplified. Be prepared to fully explain your decisions and why those decisions will make the company stronger. And be bold enough to apologize and make further changes if they are warranted.