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Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

Easier said than done

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?

Tiger Woods' press conference comprised of "a fine volley of words, and quickly shot off" -- as Shakespeare would put it -- before Tiger quickly shoots off practice rounds before the Masters officially opens.

Woods did nicely, just what he needed to do - indeed, what anyone, including the Pope and GOP chairman Steele, needs to do -- in a crisis. It's simple to describe, even in PowerPoint like bullets:

  • Get it quick;
  • Get it out;
  • Get it straight; and
  • Get it over.

Woods, like the others, didn't adhere to the first precept. He, like them, dithered long before squarely facing the issue. Hence he missed the best window of opportunity. Yet he did well with the window he eventually chose, on the Monday before the Masters.

Besides being factual, thus appealing to the head, a leader in crisis should connect emotionally, thus appealing to the heart. To do so is, again, rather straightforward, namely clearly show:

  • You're fully aware of the problem;
  • Care deeply about it; and
  • Are taking forceful, definitive action against any repeat.

It's here where the Vatican has been so stunningly deficient. On none of the three points has it moved. That's why the crisis is getting worse for the Church, about the same for the RNC, and getting behind Tiger Woods.

We all realize, however, that listing bullets is relatively easy.

Following the listed points is the tough part. Again, the Bard nailed this insight. As the superb crisis manager Portia says in the crisis-ridden Merchant of Venice: "I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching."

By Ken Adelman

 |  April 6, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Category:  Wrong-Doing Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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