I was disappointed to hear of the law firm that broke client confidentiality to reveal JK Rowling as the author behind The Cuckoo’s Calling.
It is one of the oldest lessons in the book of good business: trust – it is essential, but once broken, it can take years for the individual or the company involved to rebuild their reputations.
It doesn’t matter if it is between playground chums, old friends, acquaintances, or business partners, once trust is gone it takes a lot of time, effort and goodwill on all sides to turn the relationship back into what it once was – if it ever can go back.
In this instance, damage limitation was achieved swiftly by naming the perpetrator and announcing that a ‘substantial donation’ has been passed to a good cause in a grown up and responsible fashion. Outwardly, for now, it has been dealt with professionally.
However scrape away all the fluff and behind it still sits a breakdown at a very basic level. It may have turned out to be a costly mistake by a senior figure at the firm, but the expense in the long term of rebuilding client trust and the company’s reputation is only just beginning.