Michael Toebe

Michael Toebe is a reputation specialist who serves individuals and organizations. He regularly writes on communication, ethics, governance, conflicts, scandal, reputation and crisis. He is the writer of Red Diamonds Essays and Reputation Specialist Essays, both on the Medium platform.

Book Review: Grappling With The Gray

Michael Toebe reviews Yonason Goldson's book, “Grappling with the Gray: An Ethical Handbook for Personal Success and Business Prosperity,” a collection of case studies intended to ignite thoughtful consideration of ethical dilemmas. When I learned of a new book on ethics and saw the title “Grappling with The Gray: An Ethical Handbook for Personal Success and Business Prosperity,” my interest was commanded....

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illustration of colorful hands raised

Michael Toebe shares practical insights from compliance experts on how to establish a speak-up culture (not just a process), why tone from the top alone isn’t enough and how leadership can prove their credibility and commitment to investigating wrongdoing. Speaking up in the face of problems is not as welcomed and practiced as it could, should and needs to be for the...

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skeleton among clothes in dark closet

There is real benefit to dealing proactively with your organization’s past transgressions. Michael Toebe discusses how leaders should respond when their company’s skeletons are revealed. Once, organizations could mostly be concerned only about newly developing misconduct and shortcomings and failures of governance and compliance. But the times they are a changin’, and errors deep in history can prove to be destructive to...

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model blue VW van upside down in a puddle

Volkswagen has paid dearly for the ethical shortcomings that led to “Dieselgate.” But has VW learned from the scandal? With the FTC recently filing the final court summary on the case, Michael Toebe reflects on the crisis that leveled the company’s reputation. Volkswagen’s good name has been tarnished regularly in the media in the last four years over its low-level decision-making and...

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Compliance Alone Won’t Prevent Wirecard-Like Scandals

Allegations of financial misconduct dogged German payment processing giant Wirecard AG since its inception; why did it take so long to uncover the fraud? Michael Toebe muses here about the perils of ego and unchecked greed. Wirecard's gross financial misconduct and resulting scandal and crisis has been dubbed the Enron of Germany by some analysts. No matter how many times this type...

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rope bridge in the fog

Reputation has always been a catalyst for company success, but the attention it now demands in our culture is of a critical nature as a driver of competent risk management. Still, it is being undervalued in practice. Michael Toebe discusses the disconnect. Follow the media closely; shortcomings are more frequent than you might imagine. New research is also providing evidence that not...

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illustration of fingerpointing in boardroom

Michael Toebe writes about how one executive seeks out different viewpoints to get the best out of his employees, reducing all manner of organizational risks and improving decision-making significantly along the way. When confidence becomes excessive ego, it creates a myriad of problems. It becomes a trap of a belief system; negatively affects effective decision analysis, decision-making and decision quality; increases risk;...

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busy executive checking the time on his watch

Crisis management expert Michael Toebe interviews one of the nation’s leading experts on corporate governance to discuss the risky practice of overboarding – a deep concern among stakeholders. Overboarding is not always top of mind for boards, but considering the elevated risk that can reasonably result and what research has revealed, it should be a stronger concern for mitigation and reputation purposes....

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red emergency cancel button

Social mobs love “cancelling” people. What drives some to pile on, and what can organizations do to effectively manage a crisis if and when one arises? Risk expert Michael Toebe provides a game plan. Social media is a powerful voice in society, whether led by media, people of high influence in different professions or in the court of public opinion. All can...

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stack of newspapers on laptop

Do corporate execs and legal counsel truly understand the role news media plays in establishing the narrative about fault and consequences when a scandal arises? Michael Toebe offers guidance on responding well. How significant a crisis may become with all stakeholders may have more to do with how it’s interpreted by the media and presented by it than what actually has transpired,...

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woman holding her nose in pop art style

Reputation and crisis specialist Michael Toebe discusses the “stink test,” a practical technique for analyzing and making decisions in the corporate world. Well-formed decision analysis is not only a necessary, critical process; it is, if done expertly, far smarter, improved risk management. It works cohesively with and allows for strength of decision-making, increasing the odds of higher-quality outcomes in leadership, ethics, fraud...

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woman holding smartphone with many "like" and "heart" reactions

Social media communication is a rarely implemented risk management tool, but it should get more play. Michael Toebe makes the case for why engaging, authentic use of social media is a real asset for corporate leaders and organizations. Increased development of social media communication can result in greater effectiveness of risk management, both internal to the organization and external. This strategy and...

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