My son told me the other day how disappointed he was in Lance Armstrong. I could tell by his eyes that he really was disappointed. He enjoyed reading Lance’s autobiography and described how inspired he was by Lance. Lance then used his cancer battle and hard work as a cyclist to found the Livestrong Foundation to help others with cancer.
Our response to this was simple. Humans are flawed and many live in a Reality-Distortion Field. What? Reality Distortion Field (RDF) is an applied science that enables a person to change reality itself. It has been used for thousands of years by highly influential people to excite, convince, and rally others around a cause (for war or political office just as examples).
But let’s not forget how hard Lance worked to get through the cancer and the treatments. Also, it’s not an excuse, the culture of cycling is rampant with doping and the competitors will do whatever it takes to get ahead. On a side note, I’ve seen steroid use with local high school athletes…football and hockey. So I’m disappointed in the RDF of the teens parents. 🙁
There is a great section in the New York Times called Room for Debate. Yesterday the discussion was about Lance Armstrong and Does a Fallen Leader Crush His Cause. It’s worth a read. The debaters point out:
(1) A Story Too Good to Be True
(2) Identity Should Sync With Image
(3) Flaws Humanize Our Heroes (I liked this one the most)
(4) An Authentic Brand Builds Trust
(5) Good Versus Effective Leadership
Lance did the right thing stepping away from the Livestrong organization. His RDF isn’t going to work anymore. Only time will tell if the Livestrong brand will survive.