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Randy Johnson is one of the most celebrated baseball players currently in the game. When the New York Yankees once again came up short in their quest for the World Series last season, they put one person at the top of their wish list: Randy Johnson. But there are some things a $32 million dollar contract will NOT buy.

On DAY ONE Randy demonstrated he didn’t really understand his role in this entire equation. No one doubts he understands his baseball roll. It’s the PUBLIC role that he doesn’t get, and similar miscalculations derail careers, companies and government agencies every day in this country. Sure it’s probably on a smaller scale, but make sure you or someone you’re connected to doesn’t commit the Randy Johnson mistake.

When Randy put his hand over the camera and got into a verbal confrontation with the New York camera people (Come on! This is New York, what do you expect?) he forgot the cardinal rule. You’re on. You’re always on. Anyone who has seen me speak to almost any group hears this key message. Whether you work at the local school, state government or a high-profile company, You Are On. People are making judgments about you all the time, whether you like it or not. You don’t need to have a camera in your face to learn this lesson. Randy Johnson just had a chance to learn it at a higher, more painful level.

To his credit he moved quickly to try to repair the damage. The next day Randy was laughing alongside Regis and others, offering his apologies. For you or your boss, that damage control is just as important!

While you may not be appearing on Regis and Kelly, there are ways to make these situations not nearly as painful.

‘FESS UP! – Always confess when a mistake has been made. Need proof? See Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and the Catholic Church for case studies.

HAVE A PLAN! – It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN, so have a plan to deal with problems BEFORE they ever show up. My company does that kind of work. Call us. Call somebody, but get a crisis plan in place right now!

MAKE SURE EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS! – If everyone in your organization understands THEY ARE ON, you are much more likely to have fewer public headaches.

Whether you are getting paid millions of dollars or it’s your first day wearing the McDonald’s uniform, you have a role to play. And if you’re a boss in these situations, you have an even bigger responsibility. You need to make sure everyone understands this most basic lesson.

Next month: “Will PowerPoint be the Death of Us?”
A fascinating look at presentations and some insight from one of the brightest minds at Microsoft Corporation.