As I played golf last weekend, I asked my playing partners, both sports business pros, what they would do if they were A- Rod and wanted to redeem his reputation?
Fortunately, neither one of them sliced their ball into the rough’s high fescue grass, after I asked.
They did offer some straightforward and smart ideas:
- Accept the ban — use this as the way to start controlling his publicity, and building a recovery foundation.
- Optimize his break — use this ban year to consider and possibly began counseling young people on the risks of performance-enhancing drugs to their career and personal health. Selfishly, he could use this time to rebuild his body and show that he can still perform drug-free.
Now mind you, they both strongly advised that the counseling idea would require time for authenticity. Otherwise, it would simply appear to be a feigned attempt at goodwill. God knows, A-Rod needs authenticity.
Their comments reminded me of the advice we were given as kids before we crossed the street – – Stop, Look and Listen. A-Rod and many brands could benefit from that simple advice:
- Stop — when faced with issues that may compromise your reputation, simply halt what you’re doing. Negotiation expert William Ury calls this “going to the balcony” where you can get a fresh perspective on your situation. And be mindful of the adage that perception is reality.
- Look — evaluate where you are and be harsh on whether you can win or lose by proceeding with your current action such as appealing a ban. Acceptance of your reality can be the beginning of recovery.
- Listen — go outside your inner circle of advisers and be willing to be challenged about your attitudes and behavior. Remember, pride goes before the fall and you need to find honest trusted advisors.
Is A-Rod’s or any brands’ reputation’ recoverable when they face mounting evidence compromising their ability to play baseball or sell in the marketplace?
Some brands still struggle (BP, Jet Blue and NewCorp), as Inc reports. Likewise, many athletes still face reputation issues (Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods and even my hometown Red Pete Rose).
Let’s not even talk about Aaron Hernandez. But kudos to the Patriots for their decision to exchange his jersey.
So, can stopping, looking and listening be simple first steps to a powerful and successful redemption strategy?
More important, what steps do you think A-Rod can take to redeem his reputation?
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