Unless you’ve been totally removed from civilization, you know that Tiger Woods is in big trouble. It’s not just with his wife, Elin. His sponsors are starting to bolt. Accenture, one of Woods many sponsors, announced it was dropping Woods. Are you surprised? I’m not, especially because what he did was so at odds with how he portrayed himself to his sponsors and the public. There are a few interesting lessons that women in business can take away from this incident.
Consistency is king. Tiger gets millions of dollars in endorsements for being a superstar golfer and an all-around nice guy. He’s the family guy who everyone wants to watch playing golf. You may not be in such a high profile role where you work. Nonetheless, who you are at work must be consistent with who you are when you are away from work. In corporate America today, management isn’t buying Mr. Goodbar behavior. Main Street isn’t buying it either.
If you want to be promoted, watch what you do after work. You like to party? Consider what you do at parties. You probably have read about many people who have lost their jobs over their hard partying after work. You may wonder, how did management find out? It’s simple. Everyone checks Facebook today. I recently spoke at the Society of Human Resources Management annual conference. They told me that Human Resource professionals routinely check Facebook for candidates they’re interviewing. For some candidates, it cost them a job offer. If you’re worried about yourself, make sure you understand Facebook’s privacy settings, but that still isn’t foolproof.
Watch what you say, too. It’s been reported that Tiger called up at least one girlfriend and asked her to remove her name from her outgoing voicemail message. Why? Apparently, his wife found out about his infidelities and was calling all the numbers in his cell phone. If she heard a name she could make a direct accusation. Tiger was calling to try to prevent his wife from connecting the dots. When the story got out, it only made him look worse.
It’s amazing to me that these private conversations are now so public. I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what happens when you’re famous. It also happens when you’re not famous. I remember one friend who was at a conference. She was in the rest room talking to a friend about one of the conference attendees. He was much older and she was in her twenties. She wondered why he was talking to her. Another woman overheard the conversation. She went back to the gentleman and reported the conversation. It was an embarrassing confrontation. People listen and then they talk. Watch what you say especially around others.
What you say in writing also has an impact on your work. What do you post on the web? What do you put in emails? Everything you say that’s electronic or put in writing has an afterlife. Just ask Tiger. Those text messages are coming back to haunt him. You may have to revisit what you write or say now many months from now. Would you be willing to do that? For some people, the answer is clearly no. Be very careful what you put in writing especially when you criticize people or your employer.