Fessing Up

Funny, it was Late Night TV’s David Letterman who’s demonstrated what do do when one screws up. Caught with his pants down, he opened up to millions on his TV show last year that his behavior had been inappropriate with a former staff member (forget that she wrote in her journal that her goal was to seduce him); that he had hurt his loved ones; and he appologized all over the place.

His confession, revelation and apology was fair game for every talk show and blasted across the media. Unfortunately,  it’s too bad leadership in almost every venue didn’t hear it … or if it did, didn’t get it.

When things get screwed up, someone is at the helm. Always. Screwups don’t begin the day by the wiff of a wind blowing.  Someone starts it.  And sometimes, the someone has a bevy of folks who add to soup. When it’s recognized as a problem, savvy leadership puts the thumb in the dyke for a quick assessment and addresses it. Pronto.

That type of savvy leadership is a non-commodity today.  In the government; in business; in the community;  even within many family units. Las month, I attended a trade association of an organization that used to have an excellent reputation, an organization that I was proud to have been in a leadership position at one time.

Limping leadership, or downright lack of leadership, had become the norm. Between the poor selection of programs and so-so presentations to the utter lack of respect to the bread and butter of most conferences–the exhibitors–I was shocked to see, and feel, what unrolled.  Cast off to a room attendees didn’t see, not having a single time segment dedicated to visiting them and treated with over-all benign neglect, they were pissed. The result–few will return to a future conference. The organization had evolved within a year from the place to exhibit at to the place to avoid.

You can only wonder … what were they smoking? If it had been a peacock, the organization would be without feathers today.