I love sports. I’m not a very good athlete, but I sure love the distraction, fun, entertainment and sales and leadership lessons that sports offer. It’s supposed to be a great time of year to be a sports fan. Baseball season is approaching the home stretch and the NFL Preseason is getting into full swing.
As crazy as my work schedule is, I cherish the opportunity to turn off my brain and listen to Mike and Mike in morning or watch a few minutes of SportsCenter, or the NFL Network in the evening. But not the past few weeks! Sports headlines have been dominated by the ugly stories of prominent stars who’ve been caught cheating and then lying about it. Frankly, the exhaustive coverage of these cheaters and liars has been exhausting.
Johnny Moron (Manziel), the Heisman Trophy winner formerly known as Johnny Football, apparently has no regard or respect for the NCAA rules, and it looks like he’s in the process of destroying his credibility and career before stepping onto the field for his sophomore season. There’s no telling what this little autograph fiasco will cost him in the long run. Ryan Braun, former NL MVP, swore on his life that “these substances” never entered his body. His cheating was one thing, but his pathetic press conference (and what’s with that hair?) and bold-faced lies are what truly have destroyed his reputation. And there’s A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez, who not only has tarnished his legacy beyond any chance of repair, but has likely cost himself more than $75,000,000 in upcoming pay that he may never receive. Not to mention the giant asterisk that will now be placed by his remarkable career statistics. He’ll live in infamy as a cheater, next to Barry Bonds. Whatever good he achieved or numbers he put up during those times in his career when he may have been “clean” are meaningless. He will likely be mocked by baseball fans for the rest of his life and beyond.
So, what are our sales and sales leadership take-aways from all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For me, there are a few simple, yet powerful reminders: It’s not worth it. Cheating isn’t worth it because, aside from being wrong, nothing is more valuable than your reputation. If you don’t have that, what do you have? Once you’re labeled as dishonest, that doesn’t go away. The salesperson who lies to a prospect will never be viewed as a value-creator or someone who has the customer’s best interests at-heart. No way. You may be forgiven, but you’ll never be perceived the same way again.
Have you ever been lied to by an executive, business leader or manager? Have you had promises made to you that were not fulfilled? I have, and I bet you have, too. Let me ask you: can you trust a leader who has lied to you in the past? Of course not. Once someone breaks trust, it’s over. Just yesterday, there was an article where Lance Armstrong was claiming that he had the right to lie in his autobiography. Please, Lance. Go away. At this point, the more you talk, the more we cringe. There is no getting back what you flushed away. No one likes to be played for a fool and you did that to us for a very long time.
So as annoying and angering as all this coverage of these cheaters and liars is, surely good will come from it. Hopefully, others will learn from the fall of these “heroes,” and many will be dissuaded from headed down similar paths.
Let’s do our jobs – the right way. If you’re tempted to cheat and lie, do yourself a favor and take a quick glance at the images of the fallen figures in this post. It’s not worth it; their sorry stories are proof.