How many times have
we heard of a corporation being sued not for specific,
deliberate, or grievous acts but for what might better
be termed “unmet expectations?” Stockholders
allege that management forecasts were too rosy and
induced them to overpay for their shares. Employees
point to the same forecasts as the reason that they
failed to diversify their 401(k) retirement plans,
thus losing a huge share of their savings when the
company’s stock tanked. Soon regulators are involved,
directors are assailed, and officer heads are wanted
on a platter.
In theory, everyone knows that business
entails risk — so why all this furor and finger
pointing? In many cases, hefty losses trigger litigation.
In other situations, management’s public
relations got a bit carried away, and its overly optimistic
public proclamations came home to roost.
preparing information, advertising, press releases,
or other communications for public consumption, be
sure to consider the outsider’s point of view, “Perception
is reality.” And, if the material you’re
about to release might create a perception that differs
markedly from reality, revisions are in order