A matter of trust
Q: As the de facto leader of Golf Inc., how did Tiger Wood perform at Monday's pre-Master's press conference? What did he need to accomplish to resuscitate his brand? What lessons could other embattled leaders, such as the Pope and GOP chairman Michael Steele, draw from Tiger's handling of the press?
One of the main things I saw in the Tiger Woods press conference was a display of contrition.
He showed genuine acceptance that what he did was wrong. He admitted that he did terrible things and hurt a lot of people. He said he understands why his sponsors dropped him. This is the kind of response you want to see from a figure of leadership who has behaved improperly; you want to see him express contrition and take full responsibility for what took place.
I was heartened by his remarks about what he must do to restore the corporate world's faith in him. He said he wants to prove himself not just worthy of a company's financial sponsorship but also worthy of the qualities that each company represents. He understands that it's a matter of trust, and that he has to work hard to regain the level of trust he once had with his former sponsors.
Another positive indication was his acknowledgment that friends, fans, golf colleagues, and many other people have supported him since the incident last November. He said he couldn't have made so much progress on his own. That's something the best leaders do - show humility and appreciation for the fact that success is a collaborative thing.
It was also good to see him show some humor and lightness. He joked around with some of the reporters at the press conference. He smiled and said he still expects to win any tournament he enters. And yet he pointed out that he has a new perspective on winning. He said he realizes that winning titles on the PGA Tour is trivial compared with the successes of private life.
In all, he seems serious and genuine about changing his ways. Will he be able to resuscitate the Tiger Woods brand? He's only taking his first steps in that direction. He hit the right notes in his press conference, but now we have to watch his actions to see whether they mirror his contrite words. His behavior in the weeks and months ahead will tell us whether he is indeed a person who has changed for the better.
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