Tiger Lands in the Rough

Welcome back!
I'm just back from a few days in Vancouver and, as always, am blown away by the sheer beauty of that city. Although busy with a seminar and an all-day meeting I couldn't help but be impressed by the 'yes we can' spirit of British Columbians as they get ready for the 2010 Olympics, amidst some tough economic realities.

Two 'Crashes' of a Different Kind
Two un-related incidents occurred since my last posting - involving the 'Crash' theme - have prompted me to write.

First, the party-crashing exploits of the Reality-show wannabes Tareq and Michaele Salahi of the White House state dinner.

A lot of blame has been focused on the Secret Service. No doubt some of it is justified. However, having experienced up close and personal the Obama mix of celebrity and security (in Laura's and my case - the Inaugural Balls) I merely add a few remarks to give some context to the challenge the White House faced as they simultaneously welcomed and screened their invited (and uninvited) guests.
Intrepid readers will recall that Laura and I were lucky enough to be selected to do the 'VIP Screening' at the site of six official Presidential Balls on Inauguration Day.

The challenge, as I am sure it was at the White House last week was to be welcoming of the celebrity guests, while checking quickly to see if they were indeed on the invite list. It appears that either no one at the checkpoint had the invite list or they failed to consult it. That's not good, to say the least.

At the Inaugural Balls we had a different set of challenges - where the 'accreditation' process was done in advance, and everyone had to be in possession of two separate photo ID badges which they wore around their necks. We had to check each of those badges up close, while welcoming not only the celebrity but also their entourages who came swarming in with some of them. All the while, we were cheerful and welcoming in tone. I found the Secret Service agent terrifically professional and he didn't try to do our job for us and vice versa.

So the 'party crasher' couple at the White House had figured out the vulnerability in a social setting like that - dress like everyone else, sweep in when there's a crowd moving through and act confidently. If that couple make it as regulars on 'Real Housewives of Washington D.C.' as a result of this stunt, then we all have to promise to boycott the Bravo network if they dare to air it. [On second thought, calling for a boycott, would only send their ratings through the roof..]

Just to recollect on our Inaugural experience, check the link below:

Tiger's Crash
Speaking of other 'crashes', in the past few days, the media could hardly contain themselves as they feed on every morsel emerging (or not) from the Tiger Woods 'accident' in front of his home. As the greatest golfer in history, and as one of the most recognized and admired people on the planet, I can't help but cringe at his mis-handling of what should be a fairly-straightforward incident.

Here we are, three days into the issue, and on three separate occasions Florida State police have been rebuffed in their efforts to get a statement from Tiger and to answer their questions. Instead, he posted a statement on his website, which only served to confuse the issue and deepen the mystery.

So let's cut to the chase. If it was just an accident, then why all the delay in speaking to the police? Why did he say, "this situation is my fault... I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again?" None of us can make sure an accident doesn't happen again. That's why it's an accident. Hhhmmmm. That statement just raised more questions than it answered. That of course is the opposite of what you do in crisis management.

What should he have done? For starters, meet with the cops and tell them what happened. He should meet with the media and respond to their questions. If he can't do that for reasons of embarrassment or for legal matters that we may be unaware of, then he needs to find an opportunity to meet with a respected journalist or broadcaster and respond to his or her questions. The latter is a proxy for a full-fledged news conference but at least he is responding to the questions that people have about it. As an international figure, he is entitled to a private life, but once an unexplained incident such as this occurs which threatens to hurt the Tiger 'brand', he needs to respect that and move quickly and expeditiously to resolve it.

He cancelled his appearance at his own golf tournament in Thousand Oaks California. It was inevitable that he did this, but it didn't necessarily have to be....if he had handled the media side of it more quickly. Sorry Tiger, but at the risk of one more golf cliche, once you're in rough this deep, stop hacking away, pick up your ball and go for a clean drop. Your gallery will still root for you. They just want a straightforward story and the sooner the better.

Until next time.....

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