Luis Suarez the Liverpool striker bit an opponent on the arm in Sunday’s encounter with Chelsea. He apologized immediately afterwards, Liverpool FC has fined him and the FA has banned him for ten games.
On Monday the Club’s Managing Director, Ian Ayre stated that he wanted Suarez to stay at Liverpool because he has a four-year contract and he’s a good striker/goal scorer blah blah…
By Tuesday radio phone-in programmes were busy handling calls from Liverpool fans saying that Suarez should go, he was bringing the good name of Liverpool FC into disrepute.
But this situation isn’t so unusual. A few years ago I was counselled by an HR Director who was wrestling with the problem of a senior executive who produced excellent financial results but who had the highest staff attrition rate in the company. The bottom line was that he simply wasn’t living the espoused company values and people had difficulty working with him.
I suggested, and the HR Director agreed that they should negotiate a compromise agreement to let him go. When that went to the Board, the non-executives voted it down. They wanted the financial performance but couldn’t or didn’t want to see the greater damage done in the invisible cost of attrition and low morale.
Companies often wrestle with this type of issue but it’s not difficult. Values have to have real meaning and influence behavior. That feeds alignment and commitment from their stakeholders and ultimately reputation. The cost of not acting appropriately is too high.