How can Zidane recover?

July 11, 2006

One answer seems to be emerging and it makes a lot of sense. What did Marco say that could have prompted such a kind and wonderful man to do such a mean thing in front of hundreds of millions. Lip readers around the world are converging on the videos and are coming up with all kinds of ideas. Most of them have to do with Marco insulting Zidane’s mother and something about being a terrorist.

The lesson for crisis managers? If you are caught in the act of being a bad and ugly company or organization, perhaps the best response is “he provoked me.” Let’s call it the Flip Wilson strategy–the devil made me do it.

Seriously, there are definitely times when it is necessary to expose the motives and activities of your opponent. In my book “Now Is Too Late2” I talk about it in terms of “moving the black hat.” But before that comes the recognition that what as done was bad and ugly and should never have been done regardless of the provocation. “I’m sorry” comes first. Then, maybe, just maybe, in the right situation and extreme circumstances, you can say why you were led, tempted or provoked into doing stupid and wrong.

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