The Tail of the Tiger

Posted December 3, 2009 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

So, for all of you who’ve just made it back from being exiled on a desert island, here’s the catchup: Tiger Woods, golfer extraordinaire, crashed his car at 2 a.m. earlier this week in front of his Florida mansion.  He was found bare foot with a bloody lip and a golf club wielding wife standing over him (apparently, she used the golf club to smash in his car window and “free” him).

Since the incident, golf’s golden boy has gone underground, refusing to cooperate with the Florida State Police.  With Tiger being tight lipped about what went down that fateful morning, the press are having a field day speculating about what’s really going on.  Celebrity site TMZ is tossing around accusations that Woods’ wife was chasing him with the golf club after a confrontation in their home over an alledged affair and now leaked “racy” cell phone messages are coming out of the woodwork.

This whole incident reminds me of what can happen in organizations when leaders get tight lipped about messy incidents.   They tend not to go away.  In fact, the speculation surrounding what is “really” going on tends to feed the water cooler gossip circle.

I wonder what would have happened if Woods’ had come out boldly with a statement and addressed everything up front?  I doubt we’d be seeing the media frenzy that we’re seeing right now.  Remember how quickly Hugh Grant diffused the Divine Brown incident on Leno and continued on a successful career trajectory to boot.

It seems to me, as leaders, we could take a lesson here around “getting ahead of the crisis” by getting out front of challenging situations quickly.  Without accurate information, people quickly start filling in the blanks and making up their own stories.  And before you know it, that minor organizational hiccup has become a major organizational headache.

Happy leading!

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