By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO
For those of you bored enough to regularly read my blogs, you know I’m a big baseball fan. And in particular, I’m a huge fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The same L.A. Dodgers that were cheated out of the 2017 World Series title by the sign-stealing Houston Astros. And if you want to believe their story that they only cheated that year and weren’t still cheating when they got caught a few months ago, I’ve got some oceanfront property to sell you in Kansas.
I’ve been really upset about this since it was all confirmed, but this is much bigger than me. What about the cities, families, and longtime fans who would have loved to celebrate the championships that were stolen from them? What about the pitchers who got beat so bad by the Astros that it ended their careers? What about those who got beat up during a contract year, worsening their stats, and reducing their future incomes? The enormity of the effects of this thoughtless act of cheating is mind-boggling. It’s much more than just losing a few ballgames.
If I can get a handle on my emotions, let’s look at this from a business perspective. Every organization has core values. For many companies, integrity and honesty are on this list. There aren’t many things less honest or that show less integrity than cheating, especially to win a game.
One of the big ones for our organization is accountability. The accountability the Astros players are showing is a joke. They were caught cheating, with video evidence, and half of the players still show no remorse and claim they didn’t do it. Some claim we don’t know all of the facts and somehow makes this all acceptable. Some going as far as to tell rival players unhappy with them to shut the hell up “or else” during interviews. Way to take accountability for your actions, people.
Also, employees of any organization need understand the brand and the role they play in the company’s image. One of their jobs is to not do anything to damage the brand. I’m not sure how much more damaged the Astros’ brand can get, but they’re trying to find out.
As if the cheating scandal wasn’t enough, calling out players on other teams for being upset or getting into social media wars isn’t helping the brand.
As in many situations, there are lessons here for all of us in the business world. Stay true to the core values of your organization and don’t damage the brand. And while this phrase often ends with a human lower body part that starts with A, that the Astros are now synonymous with in my book, let’s just leave it at this: Don’t be an Astro.