There are certainly no winners in the Penn State situation, regardless of the penalties that are imposed. Nothing will make it better for the victims, unless you were able to extract those horrible memories from their minds.
I was listening today to NCAA President Mark Emmert as he discussed the penalties and collateral damage that will occur to the University and the programs. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him talk about the need to change the culture and ensure that the core values of Integrity, Honesty and Responsibility are once again upheld and made the foundation of football programs.
The subject of core values has come up a lot for me recently. There have been quite a few examples of what can happen when decisions are made that are not aligned with the core values of an organization. Or, you might say, individuals who don’t share the same core values of an organization can ultimately damage the organization and cost them more than mere money. In either case, core values are so critically important: first to be identified and second to be consistently lived by. If you haven’t defined your core values for your company, please do it as soon as possible and use them as your guiding principles, the most important of which is a tool for determining who is on your team and who is not. Does every member of your team share the core values of the organization?
There has also been a lot of discussion around the balance of a lifetime of good deeds and accomplishment, versus one lapse in judgment. In this case, that lapse proved to be catastrophic. I offer workshops throughout the country around personal branding, and one of the key elements I discuss is the consistent message that we send to others. In this case, although the message was consistent for a long period of time, a catastrophic lapse in judgment is enough to significantly damage all the previous branding. I’m reminded of a quote by Jim Rohn who said ” you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Don’t we teach our kids much the same thing when we assure them that reputations rub off from the people that we associate ourselves with? So even though we may think that in this situation it was one lapse in judgment, isn’t it a truer statement that the daily decision to associate with someone who may be hurting your personal and professional brand is more than one lapse in judgment?
Integrity, Honesty and Responsibility. That’s what I hope we remember from this day.