Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick resigned this week after he was photographed entering Downing Street carrying a secret briefing note detailing an undercover anti-terrorism operation – codenamed Pathway. The operation was brought forward, a house was raided on Wednesday and twelve men were arrested.
What should have been a good news story has now turned into what will be remembered as a blunder – and from all reports, it really is such a pity. Mr Quick has a solid reputation and has contributed vitally to our collective safety and security over a solid career spanning thirty years.
Inevitably, being in the public eye presents a unique set of challenges, extremes and rewards that most people will never experience. And with it, a great deal of responsibility. One could argue that Mr Quick is not your typical celebrity, however, anyone who is going to be photographed walking in and out of Number 10 should take note.
The world we live in is media driven and relentless. Even today, Gordon Brown has had to apologise publicly on behalf of junior aide Damian McBride. McBride is reported to have sent rather juvenile smear emails to Derek Draper who runs a Labour supporting website and we will probably see these in print in the Sunday papers tomorrow.
And so the lessons in the tales – we all have a personal brand or reputation to protect – not only for our own gain, but for the health of the organisations that we represent, whether commercial or political. The only way to be in control of this is to create a level of self-awareness, a firm understanding of how our actions relate to how we are perceived. If you are the person in charge, the one who heads up any group where your people’s actions may have a direct effect on the success of the organisation, then send them all back to school. Personal branding school.