Jealousy, envy, power-lust generate internal crises that explode

The Vatican probably survived more scandals and crises in the last almost two millenia than any institution except the British monarchy. [Or maybe Newt Gingrich.] That it should be in the middle of another is not surprising.

The bubbling cauldron of crisis ingredients requires a cup of envy, two tablespoons of jealousy, a gallon of power hunger and two dashes of CEO disinterest in a reduction of competencies, all heated by the feverish ambitions of those who would be king.

It’s good to be king. Few arrive on a throne with clean hands.

Beyond the fringe of the black robes of the American bishops, who handled the Obama contraception rules so well, [] the Holy See is seeing red these days.

But this is not to highlight the foibles of the spiritual heirs to the Medici. It is to note that any institution must be prepared to deal with a crisis at any moment. And while the Vatican is no stranger to mission-skewing events, there are so many holes in its dike not all can be plugged.

Where else recently have we seen this sense of being overwhelmed? The LeRoy, NY students suffering ticks and twitches from a sort of psychosomatic illness has multiple layers and antagonists. When forced under the magnification of national media attention this grows beyond what the district can handle.

While not perhaps an institution in the traditional sense, the Occupy Wall Street movement is at a crossroads crisis as police in city after city rolled up its tents and tenets.

Even a somewhat benign institution like the Buffalo Sabres is suffering a prolonged crisis. Players hurt. Others underachieving. Coach Lindy Ruff out of touch. GM Darcy Regier must go. Owner Terry Pegula, apparently unaccustomed still to media expectations and fan demands, makes excuses for the mess only he cannot visualize.

Since we’ve delved into sports, juxtapose these with the New York Giants.

At 6-6, the coach faced a firing, the kid QB wasn’t elite and the season was shot. But then family matriarch Ann Mara berated Fox’s Terry Bradshaw about his apparent bias against her team. Team management brought in a group of ex-fighter pilots turned consultants at Afterburner Inc. and they got the players and coaches reunited and recommitted. They did so by starting candid de-briefing sessions after each game and practice to objectively analyze and take responsibility for each player’s shortcomings — with an eye on improving performance and growing trust.

An inspirational speech by Union City, NJ school teacher Gian-Paul Gonzalez, demanding they go “all in” provided an easily grasped rallying point.

The resulting Super Bowl win over the Patriots, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady puts the Giants among the elite NFL franchises despite being one of the oldest. The differences? The Giants acted. They consulted experts. They sought help. They fixed what was broken. They transformed themselves into winners.

They didn’t hold ’em, or fold ’em, they went ‘all in.’


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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