The Philadelphia Eagles announced yesterday that they had signed quarterback Michael Vick, who served a Federal prison sentence on animal cruelty charges.
The signing has had a polarizing effect on sports fans, animal rights activists and many others.
The themes are numerous, and biblical:
- harming innocents
From a leadership perspective, the decision wasn’t easy, according to everyone involved, via their interviews today.
And as leaders, many of you either have had or will have decisions to make about whom to include on your business team, and whom to exclude.
An interesting way of looking at the signing of Michael Vick is through the lens of values.
If your value is that people don’t essentially change, and you value the lives of all living things, then you wouldn’t hire Michael Vick because you would most likely believe that even if he never harmed another living thing, he still is essentially the same person who did.
If you value redemption and believe people can change, you might give Vick a second chance.
Did the Eagles value redemption? Commentators have pointed out the fact that Andy Reid’s sons have both served prison time. One of those sons now works for the Eagles, and he reportedly encouraged his father to meet with Vick one on one and then make up his mind.
An interview with team owner Jeffrey Lurie suggests that Lurie is an animal lover who finds what Michael Vick did to be almost incomprehensible. That being said, he is willing to take things one step at a time and give Vick a second chance.
In my professional life, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in many decisions related to whether or not to make a selection when there is a history that makes you really think.
Although your leadership decisions are unlikely to be as highly publicized as the one the Eagles just made, those decisions are no less consequential.
In the famous Tylenol-tampering scare in Chicago several decades ago, corporate leaders were unable to reach their CEO, James Burke, who was flying in a plane during the news flashes and, in the pre-cell phone days, was unreachable. Reports are that the team reflected on the famous Johnson & Johnson Credo before deciding how to handle the media.
With the Michael Vick hiring decision as a point of departure, review and clarify your own organization’s values. That way, when the next big decision comes up, you’ll know right where to look for the answers.