Monday, 16 August 2010

What we can learn from Fabio Capello's treatment of David Beckham?



Last week, Fabio Capello dropped David Beckham from the England squad.

On it’s own, this may have been a big story anyway (Beckham is one of the
biggest stars in the world, and helped to revolutionise personal branding
amongst sportsmen in the UK). But the way in which he did it was the most surprising.

He didn’t do it face-to-face.

He didn’t even give Beckham a call.

He did it LIVE ON TV...

To quote:

“Thank you for helping me during the World Cup, but probably (he) is a
little bit old.“I won’t be picking him for any more competitive matches, David
is a fantastic player, he was really important, but we have to see the new
players for the future because the age is important for a lot of people, not
only for David.”

Wow – this is one business announcement that should have been announced
internally first.

That is bad social business.

Why?

Fabio used the wrong line of communication: he chose an indirect medium to broadcast a message to Beckham, whether that was his intention or not. This is just the same as firing one of your employees over Twitter, or announcing mass redundancies on Facebook (you wouldn’t get many ‘likes’ for that one). It’s insensitive, and shows a lack of communication skills. Capello should know a lot better than that, as he is an experienced manager. To be poor at communication within a company is bad, as it can dent morale, but if you make that lack of communication public, watch your brand sentiment take a nosedive.

As a boss, you have to offer protection to your employees, and show tact.
Beckham may be 35, and he may not be fit enough to grace the Wembley pitch again, but he deserved to be told with a degree of dignity and diplomacy, and not broadcast over the airways in slightly more than 140 characters.

So please think about your friends, colleagues and co-workers before you
compose your next Tweet or status update. You could end up damaging friendships, as well as your brand's reputation.

And my message to Beckham? Well, thanks for the memories!