I am a golfer.  I used to love watching Tiger Woods play golf.  I enjoyed his precision, his dedication to the game, and his infinite patience and control.  So you can imagine my disappointment when everything about him burst in to the news.

Now I realize many of you will be thinking, “yea, but Anne you need to separate the man from the profession.  What he does in his private live doesn’t impact what he does professionally.”

I disagree.  I think the person you are at home speaks volume about your character as an individual.  That character has to be consistent.  I once had a CEO who’s team was having trust issues.  When I came in to work with the team, I found out the CEO was having an affair.  The entire team knew he was having the affair.  When I told him the team trust issues stemmed from his affair, he vehemently disagreed with me.  He said, “one has nothing to do with the other.”

I said, “So what am I suppose to think as a leader when I run into your wife? If you lie to her, how can I believe you tell me the truth? If you are willing to break what is suppose to be one of the strongest contracts and agreements without blinking an eye, why would I think you ever have my back? And if you can behave that way, then why can’t I? You are creating a loss of trust as they all have to struggle and reconcile every thing you say with everything they see you do.  They don’t match. What do you expect them to believe?”

He was stunned.  He decided to end the affair and came clean with his wife and his team.  He was flabbergasted to see the trust issues disappear shortly after.

See trust is built on consistency.  Do you do what you say you will? Is your word your word?  When they don’t match people lose respect for you in ALL areas.  The sad thing is that it is really hard to rebuild trust back to the level you were publicly before the event happened.  Matter of fact, I can only think of one time where a public person had a fall and then they built the trust up to be stronger afterwards than it was before.

That person was Lee Iaccoca.  When Chrysler was found to have been turning the mileage back on cars, he immediately came out with a public apology and stated that it would never happen again.  People were impressed that he didn’t cover it up, try to justify it or deny it but instead took full accountability for it and addressed the trust lost from it.

Character is something you build over time.  Make sure yours is strong because there are times you will need to stand on it and you need it to hold you upright, not bend you.

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