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Pfeffer: When Bad Things Happen, Tell Your Story
CNBC.com | September 12, 2011 | 12:22 PM EDT

When then-Emory professor (and now Yale associate dean) Jeffrey Sonnenfeld resigned over allegations of vandalism in the late 1990s —allegations later retracted when both Emory and Georgia Tech, which withdrew a deanship offer, paid Sonnenfeld hefty sums after being sued—Sonnenfeld did nothing to take control of the story.

Soon his name appeared in leading newspapers as Emory’s then president, William Chace, decided to anonymously tell the world his opinion of Professor Sonnenfeld.

This mistake—of not taking the initiative when bad things happen to you so you have some chance of appearing powerful and getting your side of the story out—was not one former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz was going to make. When she was fired, she took the initiative to tell her employees, and the world, about it.

Good move.

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