JetBlue CEO Apologizes on YouTube

When a crisis hits, there are a number of different ways a CEO can respond.

I don't mean to dramatically over-simplify the complex art of crisis communications, but two of the most commonly-observed modes of CEO behaviour are:
  • Ostrich mode - sticking your head in the ground, ignoring the torrent of negative coverage, glossing over things, hoping it will all just go away, or;
  • Taking you lumps mode - getting out in front of the news to tackle it head on with integrity, commitment, and candour.
As you might imagine, only one of these two approaches is going to do anything at all to protect your personal and corporate reputation.

JetBlue Airways in the US are absolutely, unquestionably in full-on crisis mode right now, following the worst week in their corporate history.

Full credit and respect to CEO David Neeleman (and his team) for having the courage and intelligence to post this video on YouTube.

In it, Neeleman talks directly to the camera and apologizes in plain and simple terms, without any weasel words. He vows not to let the mess of the last week happen again, and describes the specific, tangible steps being taken to make sure they fix things properly.

That's good crisis communications and, given the medium, one might even say good social media crisis communications. Gets my vote.