Monday, December 14, 2009

The Net Present Value of Integrity

I read in a Yahoo news column today that sports marketing expert Robert Tuchman walked through an airport a few days ago and saw what he calls surreal: an Accenture billboard advertisement with Tiger Woods. Around it, people joking about it and taking pictures. The whole thing Tiger Woods is going through is actually quite remarkable. Not in the sense of infidelity, but in the value of integrity.

The Dalai Lama once mentioned in a book he wrote about the law of interdependency, commonly referred to as "the butterfly effect." Its the idea that seemingly unrelated phenomena are actually inextricably linked together. Its interesting to see how this phenomena is playing out in this situation. Two seemingly unrelated aspects of Tiger Woods' life affecting one another. He cheats on his wife, he loses sponsership. Wow! It seems a butterfly somewhere is flapping its wings...

There is something the rest of us can take out of Tiger Woods' admitted mistake. Its the fact that our integrity does have value (in Tiger Woods' case, his was worth millions) and we should treat it and care for it the way a business coddles its brand. In every decision we make, we need to evaluate how this is going to affect our personal brand and how an outsider may perceive it.

Any business owner knows the hard work that goes into building brand equity. Building a brand is comparable to pushing a boulder up a hill with a cliff on the other side, you need to be careful and calculate your moves because any slip up could send you right back to where you started or worse. We need to calculate our moves in building our character just as precisely as a business builds its brand.

Luckily, Tiger didn't lose everything and will return to greatness soon enough. He just needs some time to get his priorities straight.