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Fight or flight?

When faced with a life threatening situation, a boost of adrenalin surges through the body and triggers a fight or flight reflex. Recently, we’ve observed a similar situation where companies have been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Take German ophthalmology group Artemis Augenkliniken, which last week was one of the companies criticised on national prime-time German TV. Speaking exclusively to HBI – Deals & Insights members can read the full interview elsewhere on this site – its founder conceded he felt ”damned if he talked to the film crew, and damned if he didn’t”.

Though he takes issue with how he was presented and the slant of the show, he knows it’s not worth his time trying to take its producers to task. So what now? Should he ‘turtle up’ and keep a low profile, or come out swinging and defend the group?

In this case, he’s chosen the latter, albeit speaking to us in measured, reasonable tones about what was said to him, and giving another side to the story. The second group mentioned, rival Sanoptis, have chosen a different and equally understandable route. Our attempts to contact it have not, yet, been successful.

Over at under-fire Korian, CEO Sophie Boissard has similarly taken a front foot approach, in this case accepting criticism where it may be due, suggesting action where there is a need, but also defending her group against unfair allegations where appropriate.

Having taken a wildly unscientific and poorly sized straw poll today, the majority of our interviewees appeared to be in favour of tackling any issue raised by the press head on. If not quite fight, defend, rather than flight – was generally felt as a more dignified and open way to respond and seemed the preferred approach, rather than hunkering down and hoping the issues simply went away.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to David Farbrother or call 0207 183 3779.