When former Major League Baseball player Al Oliver, never known for modesty, was asked about his braggadocio, he replied: “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”
Maybe so, but woe to those who don’t.
Which brings me to the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets. Or more specifically, Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan arrived on the Big Apple scene with much fanfare in 2009, and he played it to the hilt, showing bravado and bluster that long-suffering Jets fans– and the media– ate up. He was a walking sound bite, a 180-degree contrast to his Meadowlands counterpart, grumpy Tom Coughlin of the Giants. Ryan became a New York media darling. And when in his first two years the Jets went from woeful to Super Bowl contenders, his image grew even bigger. He was hot. He was fun. He was THE MAN.
Then things changed.
Full of promise for 2011, the Jets ended the season ugly…and out of the playoffs. Then this year, Ryan’s team looked terrible at times and got knocked out of playoff contention well before the season ended. Suddenly, Ryan apparently isn’t so much fun anymore. His big, tough talk– so popular when the team was winning– has started to rub people the wrong way. The media– which made him a star in good times– now is magnifying his failures, probably more than he would have deserved had he not been so boisterous in the past. There’s even talk that Ryan’s job is on the line. And all of this was brought on Ryan by Ryan himself.
The message here is that YOU have the power to create your media image. However, to get it right takes a well-thought-out strategy. You want to be positive and strong, but too much “bragging” and not enough doing can get you in trouble. Remember, it’s important to have a plan that works for you and your company/organization when things are going well…and not so well. Otherwise, as Rex Ryan is discovering, the media can quickly go from being your best friend…to your worst enemy.