Let me just say that I’m not a Patriots fan. I’m not a Seattle Seahawks or Indianapolis Colts fan for that matter either. Therefore, my viewpoint on “Deflategate” is totally objective. I’m an outsider looking in on the controversy surrounding the Indianapolis Colts/New England Patriots game.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, The New England Patriots are being accused of deflating 11 out of 12 footballs in the game against the Colts to win a place at the Super Bowl. Apparently, softer footballs are easier to catch, which, I suppose, would be an advantage in a game. In the game Sunday, the football was intercepted by one of the Colts players, who noticed the difference— and the controversy began.
The Coach and Quarterback, Tom Brady, vehemently denied that the team had deflated any balls. They were incensed that they were even being questioned about the whole situation. I believe that Tom’s quote was, “I have always played within the rules.” The problem with this is that Belichick, the Coach, has been proven to not.
In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 dollars, with the team fined $250,000 dollars for videotaping The New York Jets’ signals during a game. A number of other infractions, or bending of the rules, have also been reported. I think we could all agree that this infraction would probably give a team an unfair advantage.
I’m pretty sure that you have come across someone in your life that has bent the rules to achieve their goals. I’m also pretty sure that this experience has happened not only in your personal life, but in your career as well. Have you ever had a boss that used some unsavory methods to get what or where they wanted in the company? Have you ever experienced a co-worker that “finessed a situation” to achieve their goals? How did you feel about them?
Here’s the thing— when someone is caught cheating, scamming or conning to win their prize, you forever put them in a different category in the rolodex in your head. The next time that your boss suggests that you’re next in line for the promotion, you think twice about whether he’s actually giving it to you straight.
You want to believe him, but you have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that he might be conning YOU.
Fair or not, that’s the way it works. Your reputation is the sum of all your actions in life. You can talk about your innocence until you’re blue in the face, but the reality is that actions speak louder than words. Your character, whether you like it or not, is derived from the steps you take and the decisions you make daily in life— not by the story you hope to spin to others. Once you have let others down, it’s a hard road to winning their trust again.
Once you’ve disappointed others, it’s hard to CHANGE their opinion of YOU.
You can read a million books about leadership and you will find lists of all the characteristics needed to become a true leader. However, maybe it’s best to start with the number one quality— integrity. In order to lead, people need to trust and believe in you. They do this because you have proven that you are to be trusted and believed in. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re indignant that you’re not trusted and you want to CHANGE this, you don’t have to look too far to find your answer. Just turn around and take a quick look at the road you just traveled.