Ideally, I'd be sitting on the beach, pushing sand between my toes, drinking a Corona, and watching my kids splash around and have fun.
But really, I'm sitting at my desk, trying to get comfortable, wishing I hadn't had such a big lunch and wondering why it is so warm in here. I could get up and adjust the temperature, but the thermostat affects more people than just me. So I guess I'll just be uncomfortable a little while longer. But that's enough of that...let me get to my point.
How about sports? Are any of you sports fans? You probably all know who Michael Vick is. I'm a sports fan and, I confess, I listen to a lot of sports radio. And normally I find it fun, and funny and all those things that cause you to wonder why you are listening—but mostly enjoying it at the same time. I can't think of a time when I've actually changed the channel, so it must do something for me. But there have been two topics that have hit a nerve with me and have caused me to yell at the radio, want to call in and made me WANT to change the channel. Steroids in professional baseball and Michael Vick. I don't really feel like getting into the steroids thing...so, we'll stick to Michael Vick.
For those of you who don't know (and I'm no lawyer and I haven't "studied" the case...I know what I know from being a sports fan, being exposed to it on the radio and what I've read) Michael Vick was a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. He was a very popular football player and, at one point, one of the highest paid if not the highest paid player in the league (NFL).
He was caught, prosecuted and found guilty of running, funding and participating in an illegal dogfighting ring. Throughout the case, a lot of very graphic and disturbing allegations (that proved to be true) came to light including the torturing and killing of pit bulls as well as the theft of dogs to be used as fodder for training purposes. The penalty was 23 months in jail, as well as fines and opportunity loss for Vick totaling somewhere between $90 and $100 million dollars. The harshest penalty he could have received under the law.
We fast forward to Spring, 2009 and Michael Vick was released from prison after serving 18 months in Leavenworth Prison...to serve the remaining 5-months under house arrest. Now the fun starts. You see, he's only 29 years old and is pretty much in the prime of his life physically to be a professional athlete.
Now let's get one thing straight and perfectly clear—I don't condone, agree-with, support or have any desire to be involved in torturing, killing or fighting dogs. Ideally, Michael Vick would have enough common sense and/or people around him helping him to stay clear of this kind of activity...certainly considering his very public profile and celebrity. But in reality, he didn't.
But now this is over and done with. He has served his time, paid his price and now, under our judicial system, he is entitled to a 2nd chance! Why? Because that's what we do. There are so many people coming out of the woodwork now all fired up and opposed to him getting a second chance in the NFL. Calling him a murderer...saying that "if he were a school teacher, he wouldn't get a 2nd chance". Well, just to clarify a few things: He's not a murderer...he's a killer of dogs, a dog fighter and a thief. And, thank god, he's not a school teacher. And, probably the biggest one of all...HE'S NOT A ROLE MODEL! He was in an ideal position to be one, but, in reality he has chosen not to be. That's his choice. The two are not mutually exclusive.
In our society and in the business community specifically, we all have our ideals. And, ideally, things would always blend, coincide and not conflict with them. But most times, they don't. Often times reality clashes with our ideals. But the beauty of ideals is that they are very personal. And while some are very commonly shared, many are not. It really isn't up to us to judge. Successfully developing an integrated marketing communications plan or developing and implementing multi-channel lead generation methods comes from truly understanding your client's ideals, comparing and contrasting them to reality and coming up with a realistic solution to accomplish a set business goal. Ideally, both sides are realistically satisfied!