The Better.com CEO who took a break from his CEO duties after firing 900 employees on a Zoom call, has returned to his job. We get it – at a first glance this sounds like quite the controversial sequence of events. However, it’s important to consider leadership evolution and how a leader’s response to a massive mistake like this can make or break their next career move, and potentially their entire career. We want to walk you through what the Better.com CEO did to remedy his mistake and what leaders and employees alike can do to handle a potentially detrimental crisis.

  • Step 1: Invest in prep – Comms and media coaching is an essential aspect of a robust corporate communications program, no matter the size of the company. Investing in media training for executives and managers alike will not only improve your external comms and help get ahead of comms crises, but it will also result in increased engagement, decreased turnover, and productivity gains across the organization. In the month that Better.com CEO, Vishal Garg, was on a break from his duties, he worked with an executive coach – a factor that fed into the board’s decision around his return.
  • Step 2: Put people first – Broken down to its core, leadership is a relationship between two people and people perform better when they feel personally cared for. When evolving as a leader, it is important to lead with empathy – and remember that everyone is a human at the end of the day. In an apology letter to employees, Vishal Garg acknowledged that his lack of empathy was a mistake, saying, “I have expressed my feelings in the heat of the moment, without enough care for the effect they may have on colleagues. I am committed to being more thoughtful and communicating more effectively going forward.” 
  • Step 3: Learn from your mistakes – As Hannah Montana once said, “everybody makes mistakes” – even CEOs of major companies. When these mistakes happen, it is important to first acknowledge them, then learn from them, and finally put those lessons into practice. In his initial apology to employees, Vishal Garg said, “I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it, I blundered the execution” and in a later note he stated, “Better has evolved. And, as a leader, I need to evolve too.”

Garg has seen this mistake as an opportunity to evolve as a leader and to strengthen his own company. Through executive training, leading with empathy, and putting his lessons into action, we hope to see Garg – as well as other executives – continue to successfully evolve as leaders.

Want to hear more about effective comms strategies and resilient leadership? Join our Corporate & Exec Comms specialists Tuesday, February 1st for a webinar on Exec Comms 2022: Bringing the Human Element Forward.