Plenty of books have spawned from the Iraq war – authored by reporters on the ground, former State Department officials and, of course, legions of critics to name a few. The most recent publishing effort may be one of the most surprising, that is unless you know Dr. J. Phillip (Jack) London, chairman of CACI.
This past September London spoke at the ExecutiveBiz “Been There Done That” lunch event series. As he chronicled his professional and personal life and the challenges he faced, I was struck that he was willing to address head on the events at Abu Ghraib and subsequent allegations against CACI employees for their interrogation practices.
It would have been perfectly understandable for London to pass over the controversy, and it is doubtful any of the audience members would have brought it up during Q&A. But one of London’s most enduring marks on the CACI culture is a commitment to honor and integrity – traits carried with him from time serving in the U.S. Navy.
And while mainstream public rhetoric has cycled through numerous other Iraq-related scandals and accusations since Abu Ghraib, London knew that for CACI’s reputation with clients, partners and decision makers to remain strong, it was important to set the record straight and separate baseless rumors from fact.
While many executives and companies in similar positions might have taken to the airwaves and read fluffy talking points to interested media, London wanted to present CACI’s case more soundly. It is for that reason that CACI announced earlier this week the release of “Our Good Name, A Company’s Fight to Defend its Honor and Get the Truth Told about Abu Ghraib.”
The title is long on words but short and to the point when it comes to mounting a defense of the company’s reputation and employees thrown into the 2004 Iraqi prison scandal. The book, according to the CACI press release, “…offers a unique inside look at how the company prevailed against allegations surrounding an employee who was precipitously and wrongly accused of responsibility for abuses at Abu Ghraib.” The narrative, told by London and other members of the CACI team who defended the company during the crisis, also recounts how CACI coped with the subsequent misdirected anger and criticism fueled by the media coverage and public outcry.
A second part of the book (you can pre-order it here) – which should be interesting reading for executive teams and internal/external communications teams – looks at the development and implementation of CACI crisis response strategy, and how the company honed in immediately on opening an honest line of communications with all stakeholder groups.
While actions speak louder than words, London and the CACI team would argue in this book that facts speak even louder.