“My comments were my own. The do not reflect the views and strategy of the Mariners baseball leadership who are responsible for decisions about the development and status of the players at all levels of the organization.”

This was part of the statement made by now former Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather. Mather was fired after a 45-minute diatribe as speaker for the Bellevue Rotary Club earlier this month. Mather found a way to insult players, fans, and employees; leak sensitive negotiation strategies, and create a firestorm of controversy.

Mather wrote an apologetic statement, which didn’t save his job as CEO. The organization is now left to make amends to players, employees, and fans.

The CEOs comments and thoughts ARE the organizations. You can’t separate them.

The Seattle Mariners separated them by separating the CEO from the organization (although Mather still holds a minority ownership stake). But the problem is that to the rest of the baseball world – and especially to their most valuable employees (the players) – they probably still believe that Mather spoke for the team.

In any business – but especially in small and medium-sized enterprises – the CEO is the founder, leader, face, and voice. What the CEO says IS what the organization believes. The employees believe that; the clients and customers believe that; the key strategic partners believe that; and finally the community does, too.

There are two lessons here.

The first is that if a CEO or Business Owner really believes anything similar to what Mather espoused, then the culture of the company will show it. It manifests in low morale, absenteeism, high turnover, poor performance, and apathy. Overcoming this becomes an awakening by the CEO before they lose everything.

The second lesson is what one says matters.

While genuineness and candor are important, the characteristics of humility, empathy, discreetness, and savvy are also vital. Everything that leaders say will be judged as what the company stands for and believes.

We are all what we say.

That means whether we tell the truth or not; whether we speak with empathy or indifference; whether we are pleasant or abrasive; and whether we are thoughtful or inconsiderate.

We are what we think, say and do. And that carries over to the company we own, the organization we work for, the associations we represent, and even the family we are part of.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

Quote of the Week:

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

~ Kobe Bryant

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