Last Updated Apr 14, 2010 5:59 PM EDT
On Tuesday morning, Toyota executives woke to another looming disaster. Consumer Reports had just put out a rare "don't buy" recommendation (the last one came in 2001) on a luxury SUV made by its Lexus brand. CR claimed the GX 460 entered a dangerous slide in certain turning circumstances.
Instead of repeating the DDRR strategy, Toyota/Lexus did the following, all right out of the Best Practices for Responding to a Crisis book.
- Acknowledge the problem. Actually, it didn't quite acknowledge a problem, but told its customers about the Consumer Reports testing and promised to look into the issue.
- Take action. By the afternoon news cycle, Lexus said it was working with the CR data and attempting to recreate the problem, which it hoped to report on by the end of the week.
- Do the right thing -- even if it hurts the bottom line. Toyota told dealers to stop selling the GX 460 until the issue has been cleared up.
What executives should take away from Toyota's experience.
Harvard Business School historian Richard S. Tedlow gives advice on how to avoid the denial that clouds the vision of people and companies.