Posts tagged “Golf

Tiger Woods: Making Amends, Not an Apology

The problem with most people’s view of the Tiger Woods apology is they view it as making an apology — not as making amends.

There have been no shortage of critics of the Tiger Woods’ televised apology.

George Will said of it on ABC News, “if your problem is that your behavior has revealed your public persona to be a fake, you shouldn’t stage this grotesquely fake press conference.”  The folks at the industry publication “PR Junkie” had a field day.

It was awkward, and it felt like one of those hostage videos when someone is forced, at gunpoint, to read a statement damning his or her nation and culture.

Even gold medal skier Lindsay Von got into the act.

alg_tiger_woods_pressNot only do we have a plethora of experts on public apologies, it seems that a good portion of those experts have about as much compassion and forgiveness in them as Nurse Ratched.

Clearly there’s a good portion of the public out there who never think along the lines of “there but for the grace of God go I.”

Tiger Woods is a dog that is down and there sure seems to be a lot of kicking going on.

Good for him?  Not really.  Good for us?  Absolutely not.

I look at it very differently and have my wife to thank for that.  Yes, my wife feels bad for Tiger Woods.   You might think that wives would be the first to cast a stone at Woods.  But you see my wife is a social worker.  She sees stuff like Tiger Woods all the time.  Much worse, actually.  She not only works with people that have addiction problems, she works with their victims as well.  She’s no softie when it comes to this stuff but I’d argue that she has more real world experience — and perhaps even more moral standing — to comment on this type of behavior than do Mr. Will or Mrs. Von.

Her reaction to this video was (and I’m paraphrasing):

This is a man in therapy.

His apology is not an apology, it is an effort to make amends.  Go read the twelve step process.  He is on the middle steps.  He went through each group of people that he hurt.  One by one.  Apologized to each.  Said it would be actions not words.  He’s doing exactly what he is supposed to do.

Let me tell you how awful the type of therapy is that he is going through.  It is humiliating.  It is degrading.  You have to accept that you’re a pervert.  A predator.  A sicko.  It isn’t pretty.  He’s not apologizing in the sense that people know it.  He’s trying to make amends to those he hurt.  He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.

I Feel for him.

That, my friends, is the attitude of compassion.

Criticize the apology and Woods all you want.  What was most interesting to me was that his focus WAS NOT golf, the Masters, getting back to the game. His timetable appeared to be in function of his ability to climb the twelve steps of recovery.  And I saw Friday’s televised event as him working on steps 8 and 9:

“make a list of all persons we had harmed, and be willing to make amends them all; and make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Can’t fault a man for that.

In fact, isn’t that something everyone should consider?

When the levee breaks

Growing up in New Orleans, you gain a healthy respect for two things: the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River.

New Orleans wouldn’t exist — at least in its modern day form — absent the Army Corps. Indeed, it is hard to think that any place that is 6 feet under sea level could.

I grew up a stone’s throw from the Mississippi and often played up and down the levees that protected Jefferson Parish from the river’s current. The levees and the Jefferson Parish pumping station were the only things that separated us from a swamp. It is one marvelous job of engineering.

But eventually the Mississippi River and has its way. And it doesn’t have to be the tsunami of a Katrina. It could just be the river doing what it always does … catch water from the winter snow and spring rains and head it South to the Gulf of Mexico.

You can build as many levees as you will. As high as you will. But eventually the Mississippi and nature will take its revenge.

Unfortunately, Iowans and Missourians are experiencing that today.

Recently my team and I went through our own episode of a broken levee. Like that in Iowa and Missouri, it was a once-in-a-lifetime, perfect storm, Murphy’s Law, everything that can go wrong will go wrong event.

We screwed up. And we screwed up big time.

And like the levees holding back the Mississippi, all the business processes and procedures in place, all the best planning, the loudest exhortations, the noblest of intentions … were overcome by an accumulated series of unanticipated events, bad judgments, unplanned actions, and poor planning.

Not good.

So what do you do?

Well, you can blame the Corps. And you can blame the river. Right now you see a lot of both.

But neither are very constructive.

I think the everyday people in Iowa and Missouri are a good guide for all of us.

You suck it up. You take your lumps.

You complain and indulge in self pity long enough to remind yourself that you’re human but quickly move on.

Good brands don’t make excuses. They know that eventually their levees will break.

And you either build the levees higher or figure out a way to move to higher ground.

Two big worlds collide in San Diego

I try and keep the business of my business outside the Juice Bar. But sitting at the Starbucks on the corner of 1st and Market in downtown San Diego, I feel compelled to do a quick post on two big events that collided in San Diego.

First, the BIO Convention taking place in San Diego this week. It is big. Very, very big. All of the convention center and dozens of hotels. BIO people everywhere. Oh, and not only is the convention physically big, it is conceptually big. Their theme: Heal, Feed, Fuel the Planet. Now that is big. No setting the bar low here. (Note: I and some of my colleagues are doing some work with BIO. But they were the ones with the “heal, feed, and fuel” thing. Which is good. And big. And accurate. Great combination.)

Second, up the beach there was the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. It was the biggest Open ever … and perhaps the most exciting. 50-60 thousand spectators. And estimated group fifteen thousand just following Tiger Woods. Now that is a posse! All around San Diego, every airport concourse, every hotel lobby and bar, every street … people toting USGA bags and U.S. Open memorabilia. And it came down to a draw after an 18-hole playoff and Tiger Woods, the world’s greatest golfer, emerging victorious.

The Open was to end Sunday. The BIO Conference Monday. But the U.S. Open’s 18-hole playoff caused these two giants to collide.

So there everyone was.

BIO Conference badges melding with U.S. Open paraphernalia. Corporate execs huddled in front of any flat screen that they can find in between meetings. Cheers and groans from each shot at Torrey Pines filtering down convention halls, committee meetings, hotel lobbies. For a moment, healing, feeding, and fueling the world had to take a short pause. Anybody who saw the Open contest could understand.