Every single person and company is telling a story with their lives, speech and actions.
The Weinstein Company chairman Harvey Weinstein was busy laying the groundwork for the newest chapter of his impressive personal narrative — riding into the Oscars on the back of his ripped from the headlines thriller “Wind River.” This taut, tense and superbly acted mystery centers on the rampant unreported sexual abuse and murder of Native American women. (Surely even the bull-headed Weinstein can see the irony.)
The Svengali behind such Oscar-winning films as “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “The English Patient” spent a lifetime building a compelling tale as a vocal supporter of left-leaning, compassionate causes and a huge financial booster of female empowerment icon Hillary Clinton. This on top of his reputation as a champion for movies centered on strong women like “Chicago,” “Cold Mountain,” “Kill Bill” and “Emma.” Harvey Weinstein proudly projected his compelling biography as a consummate filmmaker and political activist concerned with the plight of the less fortunate for thirty years.
Then the real behind-the-scenes news broke like a tsunami and washed away his once unassailable career and irreparably tainted his legacy in mere days. His permanent story — so appalling even his closest friends denounce him — is now one of harassment, abuse and even rape.
Harvey Weinstein’s public story was drastically disconnected from the truth of his private life.
And his disconnected story is swiftly becoming Hollywood’s nightmare too. An industry that prides itself on compassion, social justice and urging the world to join them on the moral high ground is scrambling for answers as to why they not only willfully ignored his abusive behavior for decades (since the open secret was joked about on “30 Rock” in 2012 and by Seth MacFarlane in 2013), but also continued to shower him with awards and honors.
So how does all this relate to your company?
Everyone (including companies) creates a story to share with the world through words and deeds. Some take great pride in carefully crafting and disseminating their story while others let it evolve organically.
Either way, it’s important to take a moment, step back, and soberly examine your story — both personally and as a company.
Are you telling something that’s compelling and inspiring? Is it based on a true story or pure myth? Does the public message match the back office reality, or is there a serious disconnect that needs to be reconciled?
Harvey Weinstein isn’t just a cautionary tale for sexual predators. He’s an opportunity for everyone to check their story and ensure they’re telling one — and only one — that’s meaningful.
Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. He will be speaking at SCCE Compliance & Ethics Conference in Las Vegas.Tags: ethics and compliance, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, hypocrisy, scandal, sexual harassment, story