Twice in less than a week, two public figures at the top of their respective professions, told us they made a mistake. How refreshing is that. It shouldn't be news, but unfortunately it is news. We have become so immune to public figures lying, cheating, stealing and blaming others that when someone actually takes responsibility, we notice.
First it was President Obama telling us "I screwed up" last week while taking full responsibility for the Tom Daschle debacle. Then today, Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez goes in front of the public and says he's sorry that he made the mistake of taking steroids in 2003. Our CEO at Barkley emailed me immediately and said how he instantly thought more of A-Rod after his apology compared to how he felt about Roger "I never took steroids" Clemens. That is the reaction A-Rod deserves.
One of the first rules of crisis management is to take responsibility for the problem. Taking responsibility gives you instant credibility with everyone. It frees you up to move on and begin to fix the problem. It avoids the blame game that wastes time and energy. In short, taking responsibility is the only way that the crisis can begin to come to an end.
Let's hope the President and the ballplayer are only the first of a wave of authenticity and transparency that washes over a few others.