Well the news is full of replays of the Ray Rice Video. Just a few months ago it was the replay of LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, discussion with his girl friend. In both cases the commissioners were forced to decide on the best punishment or position appropriate to save face to the public. The news media frenzy was full of opinions and analysts were busy to second-guess the decisions. And even other players get in trouble tweeting their opinions about the deplorable actions taken by the player or owner. There is no doubt in my mind that players’ are educated when they come into the league about how to protect their financial assets from scammers and what the rules for attending practices etc. Each of the teams do this to avoid loosing the services of personnel as well as making sure they are able to focus on the right things. Most of the behavior is predictable. So I ask why isn’t the negative behavior predictable? Seems as though organizations need to assess what the bad behavior is and make it well known what the costs are to owners as well as players. Why should this be one poor Commissioner’s choice? This is a good way to lead a Commissioner who is serving owners to failure.
A more pro-active approach would be to establish both positive and negative behaviors that will be acceptable and unacceptable. In addition the rewards or punishment appropriate for each should be derived as a policy so the decision doesn’t become a case-by-case issue. I know the Green Bay Packers take extra caution to research the characters of proposed players before they are added to a roster. The reason is because they don’t want the close-knit relationship to their hometown fans compromised. It is hard to injure the value of this very popular entertainment monopoly, but if incidents continue the devaluation could be huge. These instances are not new but now accentuated by our social media and news media thirst for emotional and controversial stories. Until the incentives and penalties are clear, negative publicity will continue to injure the organizations value.
This same issue could be also applied to organization that have disastrous events occur in their public domain. Biggest recent example is the huge oil spill of BP. They are now trying to repair the damage by telling the people about all the jobs they create as a result of their business. This doesn’t even approach the number of jobs that were destroyed when their imprudent judgment on well testing led to the biggest offshore disaster yet. They also experience other life threatening events at plants in Texas like refinery fires, explosions etc. This disregard for the environment will cost organizations. Organization leadership could avoid problems by building a behavioral ethics program. The pro-active program can avoid negative impact and at the same time improve performance by reinforcing the right behavior and penalizing the negative behaviors.
The time has come for all good leaders to come to the rescue and make pro-active ethics policy and programs a higher priority in organizations! I think it exists in organizations, which we don’t hear about on the news!!!