Would you like a slice of controversy pie? A lesson in how leaders call out leaders.
According to ESPN, the official pizza sponsor of the National Football League (NFL) is upset that the organization has yet to get their employees under control. "The NFL has hurt us," company founder and CEO John Schnatter said. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this (Rovell, 2017).” The pizza company has been hurt and the culprit is a lack of leadership. So, like a true leader the pizza chain mogul pulls out the strong arm of blame. As izvents readers (by the tens) will recall, we recognize blame (more) as a sign of true and enduring leadership. Blame is always a recipe for success and often an indication of a parties investment in finding a solution.
Tell us John, how do leaders respond to a lack of leadership? Oh, the answer is sternly worded statements. "Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said. Papa John’s has been the esteemed official sponsor of the NFL for the last two years, a position they earned by beating out the steep competition through valor, ethical behavior and a commitment to core values shared between the like hearted organizations. (Newsflash noises) This just in, our previous statement was in error, after much research we lament to inform our readers that the origins of their status as official pizza of the NFL was due to their financial investment in the organization and that alone.
Papa’s has an official relationship to the NFL and they have benefited for years from that connection, so much so that they are fearful that their recent profit declines will be ongoing if their partner doesn’t get it together and “nip things in the bud”. That sounds like teamwork, the definition of which is always having someone else to blame. Like the saying goes, when the pizza profits hit the fan, blame the NFL. You’re not supposed to quote yourself, but it seems appropriate to dust off an old saying – for as smart as you are, you sure are stupid (more).
Not the least of which to mention how socially tone deaf these statements come across. Rather than assist their partner in finding solution, Papa John’s takes a view above the fray and casts their stones into the mix. "We are disappointed the NFL did not resolve this." Yeah NFL, how come you haven't solved racial disparities in America? Oh wait...by "resolve this" we mean declining profits, not that we want America to fulfill "liberty & justice for all.
What is humorous is that in the battle of Papa John’s versus the National Football League, the person in a position of leadership for Papa’s notes a lack of leadership as the core of the issue. In doing so, like so many of us learning to live out leadership on the daily, John fails to recognize the void in his own leadership. In moments like these we need the words of the sage of inspirational leadership Michael Jackson, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” When faced with an issue, blame isolates us from those whom we could collaborate with to find a solution and conquer the situation. We could use less statements and more action. If a statement is warranted, it’s advisable to take a deep breath and a step back before going public as there are layers to everything.
Observations, 3 in jest and 3 that are rather practical:
Rovell, D. (Nov 1, 2017) Papa John’s says anthem protests are hurting deal with NFL. ESPN Retrieved from - http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/21250448/nfl-sponsor-papa-john-not-happy-anthem-protests
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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