Every “hot” issue was once a latent or emerging issue that was not tended to early on. A good public relations professional will spot their organization’s latent issues and do what is right to make sure the problem does not disrupt its mission — now or 20, 30 or 40 years from now.
We saw this in the 80s and 90s with organization who dump pollutants behind their plants, not thinking about future consequences. It was what was done and few were thinking about the future. The same goes for the Catholic Church that felt moving priests was easier and more caring for the perpetrator rather than worrying about the victims — but again, that was a different time, a different ethical mentality. And now the private schools are dealing with the consequences of their decisions of the past — decisions made for expediency and without thought of tomorrow.
What is it that our organization’s might be doing now that may be looked at in 10 or 20 years through a different lens and found wanting? Issues anticipation is the responsibility of the public relations professional. We must find it in ourselves to “speak truth to power” in such a way that can be heard and acted upon now for the good of the organization later.
What other past issues may come to the surface that we should be watching for? What fallout issues will take more of our institution to the brink? And what should they be doing about it now?