Why We Love LeBron James

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.” James’ “uninterrupted” letter to fans through Sports Illustrated is a great study in communications and issues management. The issue remains fresh in people’s minds four years later given all the theatrics that surrounded his departure from Cleveland. Despite hard feelings on both sides, he forgives and and asks forgiveness, showing great character and strength. Stating a responsibility to lead, he addressed the issue head-on, and explained himself. He didn’t dwell on the past, but addressed the decision and talked about what lies ahead. He focused on the future. He also chose the right vehicle to deliver the news. No press conferences or chance for speculation about what may have prompted the move. He took control and penned a good, old-fashioned letter. He was honest and open. People who work with us know we’re big fans of tackling tough issues with honesty. Take your lumps if they’re deserved, then share your plan for moving on. The approach works. And I like to see people with integrity and character get their stories across. We need more positive examples of people who acknowledge something difficult and share what they learned from it. Thanks to LeBron, we have a great positive example.

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