Last year I posted a blog that referenced sports leagues behaving badly in order to protect their brands. My argument was that in denying bad behavior, these entities actually did enormous damage to their brand, not help it.

One of those leagues, the NHL, in particlar the Chicago Blackhawks, had an enormous problem. Back in 2010, one of the Hawks players was sexually assaulted during the playoffs. Instead of dealing with it, the team silenced the accusation as they eventually won the Stanley Cup. The incident remained buried for 10 years, and when it was revealed, the Hawks coach was immediately fired, banished from coaching in the league, and a hefty settlement was enforced. The damage was done, both to the player and to the organization.

Fast forward to today. The current Blackhawks GM has immediately terminated the contract of one of their players. Although no specifics were given, the player has issued his own statement of apology and remorse, and is seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. The GM of the Hawks had this to say in regard to the team:

“I think more than anything, it reinforces the resolve we have to change the culture and make sure we’re doing the right things. Upholding our values and making sure we continue to build a culture of accountability.

A Culture of Accountability.

As a major part of what your business represents, a culture of accountability is paramount to your brand. It signals to everyone inside and out that you take responsibility for what happens in your workplace. It lets everyone know that if something goes awry, you will take all the necessary steps, no matter how personally damaging, to correct it and ensure it will not happen again. Admitting mistakes is part of being human, and correcting those mistakes allows everyone to show forgiveness.

The Chicago Blackhawks realize just  how important this is. So be accountable. No excuses, no coverups, no double-speak. Just accountable.