I’ve officially named this day of the week TunesDay. Just as Fridays are for food-related screeds, I’m going to try to stick to music on this day of the week. Forewarned is forearmed!
Of course, since it’s a music day, let me talk about sports (hard to keep up with me, isn’t it?). I read a piece yesterday about Michael Dyer, a former running back who played for Auburn. He was suspended by Auburn in December 2011, late in his sophomore season, for failing a drug test. He’s never been convicted of a crime but has made some incredibly stupid decisions about his friends. I bring this up because this kid, who has 2 years of eligibility left and is a top player, can’t get a sniff from any school to go play football. Too risky. Too many other choices out there. He damaged his brand and now needs forgiveness.
Which leads to today’s song (you knew I’d get here!). One of my favorite songs comes from Don Henley and is called “The Heart Of The Matter.” A live performance is below. The song is about someone screwing up and asking for forgiveness – not to wipe away the transgression but to heal the wound:
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore
I think it’s a beautiful, heartfelt soliloquy on the subject. That’s what Dyer is seeking and I think it’s what many businesses end up seeking as well. The problem is that it’s not always forthcoming, even if the business knew how to ask in terms even half as wonderful as these.
Some business people with whom I’ve worked have felt the “better to ask for forgiveness instead of permission” approach is the preferable way to go. I disagree. We live in an age when consumers and clients have access to multiple sources for virtually anything. Schools can find great running backs – thank you web-based recruiting sites – and vet them carefully. Who needs to take the risk that an entire program suffers due to one bad apple?
As a brand and a business, the heart of the matter is that behaving honorably – transparently, respecting privacy, keeping the customer’s perspective – negates the need to ask for forgiveness. It’s not something you want to do, even in terms as nice as these.