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Carol Kinsey Goman
Leadership consultant

Carol Kinsey Goman

Carol Kinsey Goman is an executive coach, author and keynote speaker. Her latest book is The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work.

Don't care about values? At least stop pretending

Question: Despite suspension over honor code violations and an ongoing investigation into his recruitment, Auburn's Cam Newton last week won the Heisman Trophy--an award meant to honor "pursuit of excellence with integrity." The award raises a dilemma faced by many organizations: In dealing with top performers, how much should leaders overlook corner cutting, rule breaking and other integrity issues?

Stated values don't have an impact on employee behavior unless those values are backed by leadership behavior. And when dealing with top performers, your actions are especially visible. So it all depends on how important a culture of integrity is. If it is essential (as it is for many top organizations), then you must reward, penalize, hire and fire to that value. But if you aren't going to do that, at least have the courtesy and honesty to delete that value from your corporate statement.

By Carol Kinsey Goman

 |  December 13, 2010; 2:47 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Corporate leadership , Failures , Leadership weaknesses , Organizational Culture , Quarterbacks , Sports Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The NCAA has a poor track record. They don't investigate the top programs in any sport, but they'll give a lesser program the death penalty for a relatively minor violation. They insist that sportscasters (and, apparently ADs and coaches) refer to players as "student athletes" even when the likelihood of a player graduating is roughly the same as hitting MegaMillions or PowerBall. And sportscasters must never say "N-C-double A." They must say "N-C-A-A."
It seems that this organization is more committed to managing its public image and making money than with ensuring that participating in sports really is a good thing for young people.

Posted by: jlhare1 | December 14, 2010 10:55 AM
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i would agree too, in that we are getting the products- the fruits of- of what we have sown. if we want media sensation and glamour, then we got it. we got advertising revenues unmatched in any academic type of sport. if we want virtue, then we will demand it. until then, its all public relations. and works, it does.

we got what we wanted...we got what we set it up for....then why so blue when they come home to roost????

hand wringing and stump speeches. let the cycle repeat.

Posted by: ae-inc | December 14, 2010 9:14 AM
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Ms. Goman’s comment leads to a powerful corollary observation regarding an organization its values, and its value’s system. The NCAA, as a complex organization/industry emphatically does have a single and un-published set of values which its participants all adhere to, however its size, societal impact, and its brand advertizing require it to have a fictitious “public relations” set of values. These values are not real; they do not regulate or govern the organization/industry and its members. It exists for PR purposes only.

The press participates in the general propaganda scheme of organizations by schilling and hawking the PR lies of all organizations/industries. This sets up the organization for the public display of duplicity when it’s real (as opposed to fictitious) system of values is publically demonstrated to be in operation.

We don’t really have a good mechanism for dealing with this public display of falsehood. This is because our society is, in general, an intractable web of these kinds of falsehoods.

Posted by: rc115shepherd | December 14, 2010 8:45 AM
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