- Corporate Drama
“I know many people hold me ultimately responsible … (but) I cannot monitor everyone all the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it,” so says Sepp Blatter, FIFA President since 1988. This is exactly what allowed corruption to thrive within FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is the international governing body of association football (known as soccer in the US!), futsal (modified soccer), and beach soccer.
As you’re probably aware, the US Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment against 14 defendants—including FIFA bigwigs, sports marketing executives, and the owner of a broadcasting corporation—with charges of racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. The corruption charges came as no surprise to those in the industry. In fact, the most common reaction was “why did it take so long?”
The culture of a company/association comes from the top. The behavior and cues the leader gives teaches others what is/is not acceptable. It’s exactly why so many people believe that NJ Governor Chris Christie had a hand in Bridgegate, even though no evidence has been found to link him to it. The reasoning is that he created a culture of bullying and retribution so his lieutenants figured closing the George Washington Bridge to punish the Fort Lee mayor who refused to support Governor Christie was a good idea.
Sepp Blatter joined FIFA 40 years ago as the 12th employee of the organization. The US indictment charges that kickbacks totaling more than $150 million have occurred over the past 20 years—all on his watch. As a consummate politician who has survived 17 years of scandal, accusations of corruption and the rise and fall of internal political challengers it is hard to believe that he had no knowledge of the actions of his senior level staff. It’s true he “can’t monitor everyone all the time.” He didn’t need to. As the leader he could and should have monitored his direct reports and investigated any hint of wrongdoing. While he has not personally been accused of misdeeds he did not hold his senior level staff accountable for ethical behavior thereby implicitly condoning corruption. For all intents and purposes Blatter is FIFA and therefore should be held accountable for the egregious behavior of his staff.
In fact it’s used so often (and frequently incorrectly) that it has become background noise in many workplaces. We’ve been conditioned to focus on strategy. It used to make a lot of sense when the marketplace was relatively static. Now things change in moments. Communication channels are interactive. Responsiveness is essential.
A strategy is predicated on market assumptions. With a constantly evolving marketplace the chances that your assumptions are correct are lessened. How are you going to ensure your strategy is going to get you where you want to go?
It’s time to give tactics a little love. They are (or should be in this environment) equal partners to strategy. Brands are looking to create a memorable experience to break through the clutter and stand out among their competitors. Tactics provide those experiences and can offer a powerful feedback loop to planning. From a business standpoint you can make a good case for this approach.
Take a look at how you’re treating those in your company who provide these services. Traditionally strategic planners have been seen as much more valuable than those who are able to operationalize ideas. It’s time to reevaluate. A good idea unexecuted provides no value to the bottom-line. Are you appropriately rewarding “doers”? More importantly are you demonstrating that all groups within your company provide value, not just a few departments?