Lessons to Learn from BlackBerry

For anyone owning a BlackBerry, last Wednesday was a frustrating day. The company experienced a service outage that in some countries lasted three days. And because BlackBerry’s are used predominantly by business executives, this brought their productivity to a standstill.

This is bad timing for Research In Motion (RIM), the owner of the BlackBerry brand and it’s services, as sales have been slipping for that past three years with the growth of the iPhone, and especially Andriod-based phones. While Apple has increased its percentage of the market from 21.1% to 27.2% over the past year, BlackBerry’s portion has dropped from 32.5% to 10.6%. Much of this slack is being taken up by Andriod-based phones which have come out of nowhere to their current position of first with 54.7% of the market.

It would be an understatement to say that RIM is in a crisis situation. How do they handle the outage? RIM’s co-CEO’s have released a video apology on YouTube, joining other famous leaders of late. And they are simultaneously trying to divert attention to their new developments with the announcement of a new operating system at their developer conference. But is this enough to stem the tide of customers flowing to other devices?

These are tough questions, and they bring to mind the broader question of how any leader should respond in a crisis. This past year, Shaun O’Callaghan released his book Turnaround Leadership to answer that very question. O’Callaghan looks at the types of crises and their various causes, how to lead through a crisis, how to learn from dealing with crises, and most importantly how to avoid most crises in the first place.

One point he makes is around the importance of trust. After a crisis, trust levels between the company, its customers, employees, suppliers and financial stakeholders can be at dangerously low levels. O’Callaghan provides a “trust equation” to help visualize how trust happens: TRUST = (Benefit-Cost) X Intimacy / Perceived Risk.

In our upcoming Soundview Live webinar Leading Through a Crisis, Shaun will be going into detail about how to lead through crises, and will help us to understand this formula and the importance of building trust through authentic communication. Join us on October 27th and learn how you can avoid many crises in the first place, and how to lead through a crisis in a way that will make you and your company stronger in the process.

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