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Leading Consulting Group Predicts Martha Stewart Will Recapture Market Might

Monday, November 1, 2004

Members of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) have predicted that style maven Martha Stewart will recapture her marketing prowess upon her emergence from prison in about four months, despite an additional five month of home confinement.

"Her defiance and refusal to apologize for her actions, couple with what is certain to be a stoic and perseverant demeanor while incarcerated, will re-energize her followers, her business, and her stature when she returns," cites Alan Weiss, Ph.D., CEO of SAC. "We seem to hate our crime but often love our criminals," says Weiss on behalf of the membership's findings, "and Ms. Stewart's rise from her current predicament will even outshine her original rise from obscurity."

SAC has studied leaders who fall on hard times and concluded they are not subject to the same dynamics of lesser-knowns. "TV commentator Bill O'Reilly was recently accused of sexual harassment in front page stories," notes Weiss, "and by the next edition luminaries from Donald Trump to colleagues in the media had risen to sing the praises of his character." Even Richard Nixon, the only President to resign in disgrace, has been rehabilitated. Mr. Trump, himself, seems to be come more and more popular despite bankruptcies, obvious evidence of poor management, and investors hurt by his decisions

In the world of management, executives with horrible track records tend to bounce to new and equal positions at other firms, no less than cashiered baseball managers or football coaches seem to always catch on somewhere else. "There seem to be two types of redemptive paths," observes Weiss. "One we call the 'repentant' who appeals for understanding and apologizes. Jimmy Swaggert, Bill Clinton, and Rush Limbaugh have tried to be repentant, no matter how briefly. Then there are the 'martyrs' who will never admit to a lapse but suffer their claimed unjust faith. Bill O'Reilly is currently on that path, and Ms. Stewart epitomizes it.

The lesson, strange as it may seem, is that there are few transgressions serious enough in business and public life that can't be eventually overcome with sufficient passage of time, irrespective of whether one apologizes or not.

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