The Fatal Backward Step: Penn State's Public Relations Catastrophe

If any soldier should attempt to run away during battle and should set as much as one foot out of his rank, the noncommissioned officer standing to his rear shall run him through with the short sword and kill him on the spot.  - General order of battle issued by Frederick the Great in 1745 Penn State's board of trustees should have contemplated the King of Prussia's order and the reason behind it prior to their hastily convened meeting of November 9 and subsequent rush to judgment against Coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier.  Be it in war, politics, or business crisis management, it's rarely the initial threat that kills you.  That fatal backward step will, however, do you in almost every time, and regardless of whether the original danger was serious or even real. An infantry square of King Frederick's era was almost invulnerable to cavalry because the horses -- no matter how brave, drunk, or both their riders might be -- would not run into a solid...(Read Full Article)

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