Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 14NOV11

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

Tandem Computers used to have a 4 p.m. beer bust every Friday afternoon. It was a ritual we all looked forward to. Employees and executives alike tipped back a few beers each week.

One Friday, we all headed to the cafeteria only to find a sign on a locked door offering that things had gotten out of the control the prior Friday and there would be no beer bust that week so we could all “think about it.” It was stunning. This was the correct response under the circumstances. The beer bust was a privilege, not a right. Jim Treybig, president, taught us an important lesson that Friday, a lesson I’m sharing some 30 years later.

Penn State has, as a result of crimes committed and a horrific moral and ethical lapse of leadership, a teachable moment. The institution believes it is enough to fire those in the chain of command–those who knew about the crimes and did nothing about it. It’s not enough.

Genuine leadership would have been for Penn State to cancel the rest of the football season and forfeit any remaining games. Penn State football needs a time out to pause, reflect and remind itself of what is really important. Instead, Penn State is teaching the world what not to do–move forward as though it is business as usual, that Penn State football is too important to cancel no matter how disgraced the program is.

What does it say about leadership when leadership did nothing about stopping crimes and ensuring that crimes against children were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?  What does it say about leadership when Penn State cobbles together a coaching staff so “the game can go on?”  What is the lesson from this teachable moment?  “We play football no matter what!”

Penn State football is not a victim; Penn State football enabled criminal behavior.

The focus needs to shift to the victims and away from football. There will be a time for football. The focus must be on helping the victims thrive.

Thought for the week:

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” – The Dalai Lama

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!


Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting


© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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