A spin bowler taught the corporate world how not to spin last week

Australian corporates often fail the three Rs - regret, resolution and reform - when confronting a crisis. It took a 25-year-old cricketer with a dodgy bowling action to show them the way, argues Craig Badings

The way Sydney Thunder’s off spinner in the Big Bash League, Chris Green, dealt with his 90-day ban for a suspect bowling action was a perfect lesson in how to confront adversity.

For those not in the know, bowlers’ arms are not allowed to bend past 15 degrees when they deliver a ball. If they do the action is deemed illegal. Green’s action was ruled just that. It was a huge blow to his professional, and personal pride. Yet how he reacted, and how he handled himself in the glare of the media spotlight, was exemplary. 

Here is his tweet after he was informed of the ban.

“Gutted I couldn’t be out there with my @thunderbbl teammates tonight. Whilst the news is disappointing, I respect the process and the results of the test. Perspective is a powerful thing with what is currently happening in our country.” 

The irony here was a spinner not spinning at all. On the contrary, Green was authentic, transparent and sincere.

Furthermore, he showed empathy and perspective when he referenced the terrible bushfires ravaging the country.

Which brings me to our annual Reputation Reality Report. Last year, we asked participants what factors in the workplace made a crisis worse. They were:

  1. Unstructured and poor communication
  2. Inauthentic demeanour by executives
  3. Lack of ownership of issues

Green not only avoided all three, but he will probably gain a legion of new fans because of the way he handled himself.

Here is my ball by ball commentary of how he got it right:

He first and foremost gave us a human response – he wasn’t scared to show emotion. He used words and phrases like: “a shock to the system…” and “when I got the results back, I was pretty gutted…”

He then rose above it and looked for the positive: “It’s not a time to be bitter about it. Everything happens for a reason.” He described the process as “incredibly fair”, that it was “time now to move forward” and added that “I really do look forward to this challenge that lies ahead”.

He was transparent: “I was told (by testers) it was marginal, my faster ball was the one that was reported and that was the issue from around the wicket. It’s something I have got to look at because that’s what’s been identified and that’s the technical changes that I need to make.”

He showed resolution: “I see this as a really good window to work on my game and make the changes necessary on my bowling.”

He didn’t look for scapegoats, despite attempts to bait him after an opposition player previously questioned his bowling action. “People are always going to have their opinions about you and your game and he’s well entitled to his. I’m not bitter about anything.”

He showed resilience and the will to improve: “Through the help of my coaches, I will be doing everything I can to get back to doing what I love with ball in hand. I would like to thank everyone for their messages, I am very fortunate to have the best people & fans around to support me!”

There are tried and tested ways of dealing with a crisis. They are the three Rs of regret, resolution and reform (or regret, reason and remedy).

And Green, who is only 25, should be applauded for nailing all of them. Many in the corporate world, with far greater experience than he, have stumbled and fallen when faced with similar scrutiny and pressure. 

I’d pick Green for my crisis management team any day.

Craig Badings is a partner at communications agency SenateSHJ


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