The signature moment of the great baseball career of Pete Rose occurred in the 1970 All-Star Game when he plowed over catcher Ray Fosse to score the game-winning run for the National League.
The play symbolized what Rose is all about. Prepare hard. Work hard. Win at all costs.
Forty-five years later, Rose is bringing that edge to the Greater Lehigh Valley as the featured speaker at the 18th annual LifePath Thanksgiving Benefit & Awards Luncheon. The Nov. 25 event is hosted by the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and LifePath, the latter a charitable nonprofit that helps and houses people with developmental disabilities.
Rose’s appearance is a big part of this annual fundraiser for LifePath, which serves more than 1,200 people throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley. Attending will help make a difference in the lives of LifePath’s clients, who otherwise are society’s forgotten people.
Yes, altruistic reasons are plenty enough to want to go to the event, held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville. (For information, click here.)
Yet, there is another compelling reason to attend: companies and business people can learn from Pete Rose’s career, the good and the bad. He prepared well, worked hard and got the most out of himself and his team – winning three World Series titles, including one with the Phillies, and becoming Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in hits.
And, of course, he crossed the line, when he was banned from the game for betting on baseball.
Specifically, business people can learn from Rose in several areas:
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
As a boy, Rose learned how to switch hit. This made him a better hitter and gave him a better chance to excel in professional baseball. It’s the same as the real world. Learn your craft or skills and study your industry. It’s your best way to break in.
No player in the history of baseball played harder than Rose. Known as “Charlie Hustle,” he rarely missed a game and always gave 100 percent. Many business people will say there is no substitute for showing up and working hard. Others will say those two traits are two-thirds of the battle.
Rose learned to play four different positions in the Major Leagues: Second base, third base, outfield and first base. Businesses should think of versatility in terms of cross-training staff. And people should think of learning different roles and tasks to make themselves more marketable and possibly even indispensable.
Rose is Exhibit A when it comes to what not to do when caught breaking the rules. Rose bet on baseball games while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s. This is not allowed by Major League Baseball, and Rose – although he accepted his penalty of being banned from the game – continued to deny that he bet on baseball.
Years later, in 2004, Rose finally admitted that he did, in fact, bet on baseball. That Rose lied for 15 years hurt him even more in the eyes of Americans.
It’s why his story is a powerful lesson for businesses and companies that make mistakes. Accept the punishment and apologize immediately to the consumer and the public. Say you will correct the problem, make good and do better. And follow through on your word.
They are the first big steps on the road back to winning the trust of the consumer, who almost always will give you a second chance.
DAMAGE CONTROL II
When you apologize the first time, make sure you acknowledge everything that you did wrong. Don’t hide anything.
Rose failed to do that in 2004 when, although he admitted that he bet on baseball, he said he never bet on his team, the Reds.
Recently, evidence has surfaced purporting that Rose did bet on the Reds. His image took another big hit.
That’s why it’s important in crisis situations for businesses and companies to get in front of the story and disclose everything that they did wrong. The road to rehabilitation begins then, and any future damaging news will send you back to the starting line.
Rose should have interesting stories to tell at the luncheon, and business people can learn a lot from his life. (He might even give your son or daughter a batting tip, too.)
The annual LifePath luncheon is 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville. The Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs is a big champion of this event.
Besides the luncheon and Rose’s keynote speech, the event will include:
— A networking hour, including an open bar, from 11 to noon, with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
— Rose will be available for a meet and greet, and cameras are welcome.
— A silent auction.
— Restaurateurs and philanthropists Bill and Phyllis Grube will receive the Lehigh Valley Community Service Award from the Lehigh Valley Chapter of PICPA.