It was disheartening to hear as it all unraveled. A person who I've blogged about, oft used in my analogies for those in sales leadership, a role model for all who work to be the best at their respective trade-has really biffed.
I'm not sure Tiger Woods ever wanted to be viewed as such a role model, such a leader, but it couldn't be helped given the way he worked and performed. In addition to his ability to play the game, he also hit the physiological lottery, he has the charisma and looks to go along with his multi-billion dollar smile.
What Tiger does is obviously unique and different than leaders of a sales department, but there are also similarities.
Golf profession: While perhaps arguable, Tiger was a leader in the golf profession. Due to his presence on tour the prize money has grown astronomically, he brought a different approach to golf fitness/training, he was a role model for work ethic and shattered the image/perception that only "silver spoon/country club kids" have the means to get to that level. He had a vision of what his game could become and others hopped on board. There were those who thought he could have done much more, but no single person has left such an indelible imprint on the game. He epitomized the concept of leadership when referring to "informal authority".
Sales management profession: A challenge with sales management is our profession is not truly recognized as that, a "profession". Due to this, it is hard to be an acknowledged industry leader in something where people don't come together as a profession and where skills are not as easily recognized (although EcSELL is trying to change that). However, success can be readily measured in sales management; performance against goal or performance over last year's results measured over a several year period. So, begin with your company. Are you a leader in your profession within your own organization? Are you attempting to take your game to a new level? Are you measuring your effectiveness? Have you sustained performance over many years?
Golf profession: Will Tiger still be as effective as a leader? No way. Leadership in anything is not just how one acts in their profession, but how one acts in life. As John Maxwell stated, "there are not business ethics and personal ethics-there are only ethics", and Tiger's ethics certainly need adjusting. I'm not saying he will no longer be a leader, he just won't be as effective in that role.
Sales management profession: The most effective sales leaders need to have the Tiger mentality towards their profession, but a greater commitment to ethics in their personal life. As much as one may think they are separate, most members on a team will not view them that way. When one's leadership credibility is questioned, so is their ability to effectively coach-we'll learn more about this at the upcoming EcSELL Summit.
Can mistakes be corrected and forgiven? In Tiger's case, we'll wait to see if the public will provide him that chance.
Since we are all human, that makes us fallible and prone to mistakes. Admitting to errors and working to rectify them is key. Ultimately we all have a chance to change the way we lead, but too many errors in judgment will eventually render one ineffective in a leadership role. Those in a sales leadership position have a trickle down affect that can be staggering since so much lost revenue can be the result. Without a constant barrage of information, development training and attention paid to leadership, there is a tendency to forget its impact on team productivity.
So, from this point forward, this author will be limiting how the Tiger factor is used in sales management analogies. Sorry Tiger, I will now wait to see how you respond from your self-induced adversity.