Tag Archive for: A-Rod

If You are Wrong – Tom Brady – Admit it Quickly and Emphatically

I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired
of athletes getting caught red-handed cheating or involved in some scandal only
to defiantly maintain their innocence. Pete Rose, Lance Armstrong, A-Rod come
to mind and now Tom Brady has joined the list. Eventually the truth comes out
and each person only compounded his problems with the lies that ensued. Of
course, this issue isn’t limited to just athletes. We’ve all seen our fair
share of politicians, religious leaders, businesspeople and many others go
through the same thing.

Just once I’d like to hear someone say, “I did
it. It was wrong. No excuses and now I’m willing to bear whatever punishment
comes my way.”
The public doesn’t care why they did what they
did because it’s all excuses. My old high school football coach said it best,
“Excuses are like a—holes. Everybody has one and they all stink!” The only thing
people care about is what they did.
Lying after getting caught only compounds
cheating. Thus the well-known saying, “The cover up is worse than the crime.”
When will they learn? I realize a lot is at stake, but had each of the aforementioned
people taken their medicine when they were caught, odds are they’d be back in
the good graces of the public by now. Tiger Woods, as horrible as his behavior
was, fessed up, sought help, and is in a much better place than Pete, Lance,
A-Rod or Tom.
Football is a game of inches. Sometimes the
slightest advantage makes all the difference between winning and losing. But
the point is not whether or not deflating a football a little bit makes a
difference or not, or whether fans and players think the rule is silly,  IT’S THE RULE.
The issue with Tom Brady is twofold. First, he
chose to break the rule and only did so because he felt it would be an advantage
for him. If he didn’t think balls with slightly less pressure would help he
wouldn’t have instructed others to let a little air out. Like the rule or not,
he knowingly broke it.
Second, and more important now, he lied about
it. For most people when everything is on the line we see their true character.
Sometimes people choose to risk life and limb for others but most people focus
just on themselves. That’s the choice Tom Brady made.
In Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People,
he has some great advice under the section Be a Leader (something Tom Brady is
supposed to be):
“When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and
Carnegie’s advice taps into Robert Cialdini’s
principle of authority. One shortcut to gain credibility with others is to
admit weakness or mistakes before the other person brings them. In doing so
you’ve viewed as more truthful.
If I were in the NFL, I might get flagged for
a 15-yard penalty for “piling on” with this blog post. I don’t dislike Tom
Brady or the New England Patriots. In fact, I was pulling for them to win the
Super Bowl years ago when they had a chance to go undefeated because it would
have been a historic event. But no longer can I root for them at all because it
seems at every turn Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the organization are
embroiled in controversy over the rules. When there’s smoke there’s usually
fire. Admit you started the fire and do all you can to prevent any more from
Here’s my final thought: Tom Brady needs to
grow a pair and take his punishment like a man. Of course, maybe he already has
a pair but if so, then they’re obviously a bit deflated too.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


The Apology Heard Around the World

You’ve probably heard the familiar saying, “Timing is everything.” When I hear that I joke with people and tell them, “That’s true unless you’re in real estate. Then it’s location, location, location.” As timing would have it, perhaps the most famous person alive gave the apology heard around the world last week. After months of speculation Tiger Woods finally addressed the public concerning his issues with infidelity. What’s this have to do with timing? It just so happens to coincide with the next bit of Dale Carnegie advice I was going to share – If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

I wrote about the Tiger Woods’ situation in December, approaching it from the context of character. I tried to drive home that we can’t do anything about Tiger and all our water cooler talk is worthless. It turns out that all the speculation about Elin and his car accident were wrong if you believe Tiger’s apology. I’m going to take him at face value because part of the rehab process is coming clean with the truth and making amends. Assuming his account of that night is the truth then the media outlets and many people wasted a lot of time on that issue. The point of my post was simply this; we can use Tiger’s situation to reflect on ourselves and try to become better people.

The point of this week’s post is to get all of us to reflect on ourselves when we make a mistake. Lots of people think Tiger waited too long to apologize and that his words were not his own but those of a PR firm. That may be true or it may not. I don’t have a PR firm representing me and I bet you don’t either, so we don’t have to worry about that getting in the way of our credibility when we choose to apologize.

When we do make a mistake the quicker we own up to it the less time there is for speculation by others. Once people start down that path they begin to convince themselves they’re right. In Tiger’s case, no matter what he or Elin says about Thanksgiving night, many people are so firmly entrenched in what they believe happened that they might never believe anything different.
So how does this apply to you and I and what we can learn from all this? If we can prevent that speculation from taking root when we make mistakes then wouldn’t it be the smart thing to do? Here are a few examples of people who should have done just that. Not too long ago Alex Rodriguez came clean about steroids. The problem was, A-Rod lied to Katie Couric about it on national television when asked a few years earlier. The late admission was seen as a way to manage his career rather than a genuine apology for something he knew was wrong. Had he been truthful with her I think he would have been revered because he would have been the first baseball player to come forth without having the pressure of an investigation or congressional hearings.

Mark McGwire is in the same boat. Nobody is buying his apology because he lied to Congress about his steroid use. Had he admitted the truth at that time I think public opinion would be much better right now. As it is, most people see his apology as just the necessary step to get back into the game of baseball and possibly the hall of fame one day.

The American public is forgiving when people come clean about mistakes and back it up by living a changed life. I think on an individual level people are very much the same. When I’ve made mistakes and took steps to own up to them I’ve found people willing to extend grace to me. I think of the time when I was a jerk on the road driving in to work one morning. For quite some time I refused to let someone over as we approached the exit. I could have tapped the brakes, been a nice guy and let the driver over but I chose not to and eventually the driver got behind me. It turned out the person I was a jerk to happened to be a coworker who saw me pull into the parking lot. I knew he knew it was me on the highway so I made the choice to apologize. I got a very nice email from him saying we all make mistakes but he knew I was the kind of person who would own up to it. I think we’re better friends today than we were before the incident.

So here’s the bottom line. Don’t waste your time speculating on all the aspects of Tiger’s apology, his sincerity, when he’ll play again, if he and Elin will stay together, etc., because none of that will make you a better individual. Learn from his situation and use it to grow as a person. Next time you make a mistake own up to it quickly. Like anything, if you start with the small stuff it will make it easier when the bigger stuff comes around because you’ll have built character. Make that choice and you’ll become a person of authority and influence because you’ll have credibility.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

When You’re Wrong, Admit it Quickly and Emphatically

“When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” If that sounds familiar it’s becau
se it’s advice that been around since 1935, the year Dale Carnegie published How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie observed the lives of successful people during his day and looked at what worked for him when he wrote that classic book. I call it a classic because so many books come and go but you can still find How to Win Friends and Influence People at any bookstore today, more than 70 years after it first came out! I highly recommend it.

The reason I chose this topic this week is twofold. First, admitting when you’re wrong shows weakness and vulnerability. Contrary to popular opinion, admitting weakness can actually help enhance your authority. The principle of authority tells us people typically look to those with superior knowledge when making decisions. If you want to be persuasive you need to establish your authority so people will listen to you. Authority is established by conveying expertise and credibility. You’re seen as more credible when you show your humanity, that you make mistakes and are honest enough to own up to them.

Dale Carnegie didn’t have social science experiments to fall back on when he told people to own up to their faults quickly but what that advice did was tap into the principle of authority. That’s why owning up to mistakes can be so powerful.

The other reason for this topic at this time is because of a mistake I recently made. I was working with my boss to send an email to some insurance agency owners. They were personalized with the name of each agency owner and agency name on each email. Without getting into technical detail, we used Microsoft Word and the “track changes” feature was left on. Every email went out with the correct name…and the incorrect name crossed out right next to it! Needless to say, as the one with the “technical expertise” on the project I was shocked. My boss was none too happy either since the email went out under his name.

We did the only thing we could; we got a note of apology out immediately. The email that followed said we were trying to add a personal touch to the original email and then acknowledge our mistake. While there were a few snippy replies to our original email with the error, we were flooded with replies to the second email…all positive!

I really believe in this day and age, when so many prominent people fail to simply admit their mistakes, these agents found it refreshing that someone finally admitted to a blunder. One agent told my boss he ought to run for public office.

Think about this for a moment; what if Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) had admitted to Katie Couric during that now famous interview that he indeed had taken steroids? I believe baseball fans
would have said, “Finally, someone who doesn’t have to get caught, go before Congress or have a scandal to force the truth.” Had he done that, I believe A-Rod would have been put on a pedestal and admired as an example of how to handle yourself once you’ve blown it and you know you have. An admission followed up by hard work in an effort to restore his name would not have left him as tainted as he is today.

I’m not saying you can always come up smelling like roses but you probably are far better off than waiting to get caught. On a personal note I’ve seen this to be the case on many occasions. I remember one occassion in particular where I could have treated a store Wal-Mart manager better than I did. While I never said or did anything I was ashamed of, I let my anger at the situation, which was out of his control, show and I’m sure it made for a bad evening for him.

I called him a couple of days later and apologized for how I acted. His first response was, “You didn’t act bad compared to other customers.” I told him that may be true but it still wasn’t the way I know I should have acted. His response was great, “You just made my day. No, you made my week. If you ever need anything you just ask for me by name.”

I could have blown that off but then his day, his week, would not have been as bright. It also made my day and taught me a valuable lesson. That lesson has been passed on to my daughter (she was with me when I got mad), to many people I’ve taught and now it’s been passed on to you. So, next time you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically!

Teaching You to Hear “Yes!”