Steve Jobs is sick: What should Apple tell its employees?

How to maintain your CEO’s privacy—but keep employees informed—if he or she falls ill.

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How to maintain your CEO’s privacy—but keep employees informed—if he or she falls ill

Steve Jobs’ illness (whatever it might be) should force all companies to ask themselves one question: Do we have a deep bench?

And it should force communicators at those companies to ask themselves the follow-up question: Are our bench players known and respected, both internally and externally?

“For Apple, it’s a little like prescribing gloves to a workman with splinters,” says Paul Dusseault, who leads the corporate practice group in Fleishman-Hillard‘s Atlanta office. But the answer to the reputational challenge, he says, is to keep senior management in the public eye through blogs, tweets, op-eds, speaking engagements, media interviews, employee town halls and so on.

All companies should do this, he says—after all, the onset of a potentially fatal illness is just one of the reputational risks a company runs by making the CEO its only public “face.”

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