May 7, 2003
have right to offer their chirps
Chicks have right to offer their chirps
The Dixie Chicks, are catching heat
for remarks one of the members of the group made in
expressing her embarrassment over President Bush with
reference to the war in Iraq. The group has not really
apologized for those remarks and now they're posing
nude in the May 4 "Entertainment Weekly" magazine.
Are they exhibiting integrity?
The Dixie Chicks have every
right to express their ideas, anywhere and anytime, and
on any topic. Fans have a right to expect consistency
from their entertainers. When these freedoms (for the entertainers) and the expectations
(from the fans) get too far apart, the relationship can deteriorate. The Dixie
Chicks -- three talented singers-songwriters-performers, have built a fabulously
successful reputation that has suddenly changed, at least in your eyes. They
had become famous providing a certain kind of entertainment that included not
only their brand of music, but also a predictable public image. For whatever
reasons, much about them seems to have flip-flopped.
In clear business terms, they have a right to offer
any product and image they choose. You can elect to accept
or reject their new package. In your eyes
they have violated a trust, and their decisions to pose nude is a radical
departure of the brand image you had expected from them.
The actions being taken by the Dixie Chicks may not
violate our definition of integrity. They are choosing
activities (controversial political positions and crass
nudity for the marketing of some changing professional
image) that seem to be far different from what you and
others had come to expect. These are their choices.
when public figures attract a great deal of attention,
often associated with money, influence and
celebrity, there may be unspoken requirements that they
not detract from the accepted-image. Like it or not,
we look to these leaders and we need for them to provide
steadiness in an uncertain world.
The Dixie Chicks' current crisis is a good reminder
for everyone. In one way or another, who among us is
not responsible as a role model for someone?
What the Dixie Chicks can teach us is that there are consequences when we
choose not to control our behaviors, public or private. Those who look to
leaders know that integrity matters and a predictable model of behavior can
be source of strength for those about us.
Each of us has developed an image or
a brand that those about us have come to appreciate,
expect, and, upon which
they are comfortable turning to when they make decisions.
Parents and teachers, physicians and attorneys, elected
officials and business executives, brothers and sisters,
religious leaders and media moguls – each can improve
society and enhance individual and organizational effectiveness
when the brand or image represented to those who need
them most is taken seriously.