Work on Redeeming Yourself Like Miley

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“I hope you had an awesome time,” Miley Cyrus told the crowd at the Disney Channel Games concert on May 3 in Orlando, Fla. “I saw a sign back there that said, ‘Miley, I'm praying for you.’ I could not be more appreciative. Thank you guys for all your support. Without you, none of this would be possible. I love every one of you and I could not be more appreciative. God bless you.”

It was Cyrus’s first public appearance since her scantily clad photo spread in Vanity Fair hit the court of public opinion, and the Disney (DIS) singing sensation, 15, was more appropriately dressed this time, in white jeans, a white tank top and sneakers.

However, the controversy did curtail the Hannah Montana star's weekend plans somewhat: She ducked out of a planned red carpet event prior to the show and declined to attend a media event which supports the Disney competition for charity.

Still, the move was the first step in the right direction for Ms. Cyrus and her career (which is largely based on her wholesome image), according to Michael Robinson, senior vice president of Levick Strategic Communications, a New York based crisis management firm. “This concert is important for her. She needs to re-assert her throne in the magic kingdom,” says Robinson. “When a crisis hits, people should address it and move on. If you don’t address it there will always be an elephant in the room, in the case, a flying elephant.”

That is a lesson anyone who has made a mistake at work can learn from. Penelope Trunk, author of the Brazen Careerist, says that an apology can often be the saving grace in a controversial work situation. “Apologize, apologize, apologize. The most important thing to do is apologize," says Trunk. "You can afford to make one mistake, but you can’t afford not to say you are sorry for it.”

And, apologize Miley has. In a statement to People magazine (TWX) on April 27, Cyrus said, “"My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy. For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie [Leibovitz]. I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed."

Now that she has gotten “I’m sorry” out of the way, experts agree that what Cyrus needs to do now, is reassure Disney and the parents of her fans that it will never happen again. Simma Lieberman, a career consultant in Albany, Calif., says that anyone who makes a blunder, including Cyrus, should be given the benefit of the doubt. “People should be given the chance to apologize and change their ways.”

The same goes for anyone who may be caught in hot water whether it is in their private or professional life. And, seeing as the Hannah Montana brand is estimated to bring in a billion dollars this year, Robinson says that Disney won’t be cutting ties with Cyrus anytime soon. “When a crisis happens people do one of two things: run away from the problem or run to it," says Robinson.
"The right choice is to run to it, address it, and then let the controversy come to an end. Then you can look forward, not backward and keep making money.”

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