I first came across this story, not buried in an online discussion or in a tweet. But rather, on the Today Show. It's an excellent example of the speed with which poorly thought out internal memos find a whole new life online.
Clifford Chance sent a memo to female lawyers in their firm. They were hoping to provide women with some "tips" about how to act and present themselves. But many of the tips are a bit...well, ridiculously worded such as:
Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.
Don’t giggle; Don’t squirm; Don’t tilt your head.
Practice hard words.
Watch out for the urinal position.
Wear a suit, not your party outfit.
No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.
No matter what position you have on the full memo or intent behind it, one thing that is clear: An internal memo, even one that was meant to stay internal, will get leaked and will generate a fire storm on social media if it's offensive.
And the ramifications of not taking more care to consider how your memo will be received are pretty grand—dealing with the reporters' inquiries, upsetting most of your female employees, potential litigation, and even the damage to your brand. I'm sure many qualified women will second guess a career possibility with the firm after finding this story online.
Read the article, and watch the video, on Huffington Post and join me in this conversation here on LinkedIn.