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a winner. Being regular winners gives athletes leeway that most people will never have in their places of employ- ment. A politician gets to win at elections, every few years; musicians or movie stars might have two good years in a row. A star athlete gets to win every few days. The weekly victories of gun-toting NBA stars or the 32 convicted fel- ons in the NFL reinforces them as winners, not as people defined by their worst moments. Giambrone’s decision to abandon his mayoralty race immediately, to disappear for a period of recovery, and then to return to work is the right sequence for most cri- ses. Hanging in, as many fiercely loyal friends will often counsel only increases the determination of the media and one’s enemies to take you down. Disappearing for too long and you look like a guilty quitter. Quietly going back to work, performing one’s duties while staying off the public radar is the textbook path to recovery. Tiger’s bungling continued with his announced decision to

leave golf. That set back his recovery back further. Tiger could have been a winner who battled adversity and private issues to return to victory. Instead he became just another self-indulgent philanderer who used to play golf. Winning is his ticket to re- covery. It is his chance to say that this will not be the defining

moment in his career. His planned return to the golf circuit was the first sign that someone around him was beginning to play by the iron laws of crisis management. While his belated public statement and apology will help his recovery, they would have helped a lot more the morning after. Revealed a month earlier, on his own terms, Giam-

brone’s private infidelities would have been just as pain- ful to his partner family and friends, but they would have been a one day public footnote. Forced disclosure turned them into an irretrievable disaster. Crises can be shattering. They often ruin lives and profes-

sional reputations… but only temporarily. They do not need to mean an end to a career. You can prepare for crises. You can recover from them by continuing to write you own narra- tive. Most importantly, you can avoid the ones you inflict on yourself; a good place to start is with your friends and advi- sors. Make sure they’re the kind who will drag you firmly back from the blunder you are about to commit.

Alex Callahan is a junior consultant at the Toronto communica- tions strategy and research firm Navigator Ltd. Robin Sears is Navigator’s senior partner.


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