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Leadership lessons from George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s trial


George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin

I am sure, if you live in the US or if you are connected to social media, you must have heard the buzz about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s trial. There may be various reasons why you might have heard-of (or followed) this trial. This case has opened up various discussions like stand your ground law, racism against African Americans, and the gun ownership in the United States of America. Though no one will exactly know about what happened that night, other than Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, we can get some leadership lessons from this trial. Thus, in this blog post, I am going to share my observations on this trial from the leadership perspective, and what we can learn from it.

Truth will eventually come out: As you might have seen in the George Zimmerman trial, the truth about profiling Trayvon Martin as a black person came out eventually. No matter how hard the media and Trayvon Martin’s prosecutors tried to portray the story that George profiled him as a black person, the transcript of George’s conversation with the 911 operator says the complete story. From that transcript, it is obvious that George’s action of profiling Trayvon as a black man was the response of the question asked by the 911 operator, and not any kind of a racist act. This example clearly displays that …. No matter how hard you try to hide/modify the truth, it will come out eventually. Thus, try to be truthful to yourself and the world. If you are always truthful, you won’t need to live under the fear of getting exposed. I understand; some truths are really hard to handle. But don’t make them your weaknesses by hiding them, try to be upfront about them, and learn from them. By speaking the truth, accepting your failures, and implementing appropriate strategies to address the crisis, you can come out as a true winner like Johnson & Johnson after Tylenol crisis. There is no benefit in hiding the truth.

You can’t make everyone happy: Even though George Zimmerman’s verdict is out, and he was found not guilty, people are still protesting on the street for justice. After seeing all the facts, some people are still using this tragedy for their personal/political benefits. Let’s be clear, this case was never about racism. There were no factual evidence found, which proved this allegation. It was not about Blacks vs. Whites, since George Zimmerman was of mixed race. But yeah! This case definitely makes us rethink about the self-defense (or the stand your ground) law. The only thing, we can learn as a leader from this example is …. No matter what decision you take as a leader, there will always be people who won’t agree with your decisions, or who will use your decisions against you for their personal/political benefits. Thus, believe in your instincts and take your decisions to make the majority of your stakeholders happy. Though you should thrive to make all of your customers happy, don’t worry about it too much if you can’t improve your customer satisfaction rating from 98% to 100%.

Base your decisions on facts: After following this case for a while in the media, I have realized that some of the people are making their opinions on the basis of what they have heard/read in the news or in the social media. Some of the people seem to be disconnected from the facts, and still blame this case on racism. As a leader, you might find yourself doing the same thing sometimes. For example: You might want to keep on investing money into a failed project, if you are emotionally attached to that project in some way. Thus, while taking those kind of tough decisions, you should always base your decisions on the facts, instead of your emotions. Take Marisa Mayer for an example. When she took the most unpopular decision of 2013 by stopping the work-from-home policy at Yahoo, Inc., she was highly scrutinized by her peers and numerous internet bloggers. Though her decision was controversial, it was based on actual facts, and it did help Yahoo in improving its work efficiency and building its team morale.

Do you have any other lessons from this trial, which you would like to share here? Are there any other examples from this trial, through which we can learn something, and be a better leader?

I will be waiting for your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

Note: I give full credit to all the authors/photographers whose content I have used in my blog. If you want to find out more information about them, then please click on the links/photographs to go on their website, and find out more information.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Managing Major Failures in Your Business


ManagingFailuresThose days are gone when businesses were small and local. In today’s world, businesses are becoming more and more complex. And brands are becoming bigger than ever. So, what happens when you encounter a failure in your business? What would you have done as a CEO of Toyota, during the tough times in 2010? What would you do as a spokesperson of BP, when you realize that there is a major leak in your new plant? I might not have an ideal answer for what you can do during situations like those, but from my personal experiences and observations, I have few suggestions to deal with situations like those.

First thing that you want to do in these kind of situations is to be accountable for your failures. Everyone remembers the gulf oil spill by BP. In today’s business world, accepting the failure isn’t the sole decision of the CEO. By accepting the failure like this big, they might be ruining their brand image. Whatever may be the case, I recommend you to take responsibilities of your actions. Remember the famous case of Tylenol? It was company’s quick acceptance of the problem, which saved the image of Johnson and Johnson.

In any major failures, you need to be transparent with your stakeholders, no matter who they are. A good example of this is – Toyota’s gas peddle fiasco. On July 29 of 2010, Toyota recalled approximately 400,000 cars for their problems in the gas peddle. Before this incident, Toyota was perceived to be the safest automobile maker in the world. Guess what Toyota did? They utilized lot of 21st century’s media tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to reach to their customers and admit their mistakes as a part of their immediate response. They also had a lot of TV and radio commercials within a month to communicate with their customers about what they are doing regarding this issue. This effort from Toyota helped them to keep their “brand value” intact by communicating their efforts to their customers.

I think that businesses might be becoming complex and failures might be becoming very difficult to handle, but if we can accept our failures and act on them quickly then we can minimize the impact of those failures.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2010 in Leadership, Management

 

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