Management Lessons From Tiger Woods and Strauss-Khan

Yesterday a very powerful man was arrested at JFK. This is nothing new, powerful men throughout history have done despicable things. Each time something like this happens you wonder why? I remember years ago being in a bowling league for a company I worked at. A woman who worked with me was in the league too. However, I used to see her husband at an establishment I would visit from time to time. He was there trying to seduce one of the servers. I used to wonder why this guy would put his family in peril for a few moments of pleasure. I never had the guts to tell this woman what was going on, but it was exposed and she was very hurt.
Although this husband was not a world leader, or a golf professional, he made choices that had an immense effect on others, just like Tiger and Strauss-Khan. What exactly are the managerial lessons one can learn from both of the above events?

The first lesson involves the power of a solid thought life. Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5, tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. This verse tells me of the importance of disciplined thinking. As a Christian we work to ensure our thoughts are in line with the eternal truth of God’s word, but from a secular perspective we could say that one’s thoughts should be line with Kantian categorical imperatives. When a man decides to commit adultery with many partners, or sexually assaults a woman in a hotel, the battle of the mind has been lost somewhere down the line. It is not a loss that occurs overnight, it is one that is lost over a long period of compromised thinking.

In the case of Tiger Woods, power and fame took a toll on his thought life, and with Strauss-Khan, the lack of accountability led to the negative spiral of behavior. Although Strauss-Khan is innocent until proven guilty, the situation does look bleak. The first lesson that a manager can learn is to have a disciplined thought life.

The second lesson managers can learn from this event involves the choice of who we have in our lives that give us advice. Tiger Woods decided to hang out with Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan. Both of those individuals were great basketball players, but they were also known for their partying. These friendships led Tiger down a path that was not very positive.

With Strauss-Khan there were several events that seem to be problematic. Married three times, known as the great seducer, a possible quid pro quo event with a lower level employee, etc. Who did this person have around him to hold him accountable, or question his actions? The lesson that managers can learn from this event is make sure you have people around you that are honest and will tell you the truth.

The last lesson involves the cause and effect relationship of decisions. Tiger Woods may or may not win another tournament, but the fact is he will never be a dominant as he once was. His life has changed forever. Strauss-Khan, if he did what he is accused of, will never be President of France, and may end up in an American jail. I would be willing to bet that his life will never be the same. The lesson for managers? Decisions have consequences.

And that is my thought for the day!


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