Leadership Development Skills: A Case Study

When normal people get married, it is referred to as a union, but when you are the likes of Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, you are a corporation. Undoubtedly, they have more employees than your local sports shop (shameless plug) and as such they should have dealt with their breakup in a better manner. I have been a successful senior leader and entrepreneur for over 20 years and as such, I believe I could have saved them a lot of trouble in the public relations department. If they had only called several weeks ago I imagine I could have saved them some trouble. The call would have gone like below.

“Hi, this is J. Pullman, how can I help you?”

“Yeah, J., This is Marc Anthony and I was wondering if I could get some business advice from you.”

Of course, I am a seasoned veteran and get calls like this all the time, so I simply said, “Sure.”

“First, I need to know that we are speaking in confidence.” I only speak in confidence, but Marc was not aware of this. “Yes, Marc. We are speaking in confidence.”

“Great,” Marc said. “Here’s the deal. Jennifer and I are going to separate and ultimately divorce.”

“I am so sorry to hear that. You two made a great business arrangement,” I said.

“I know, professionally we are a wonderful business, but personally, the marriage just has stopped working.”

Normally, I would have given my talk on Leadership Development Success Tips, but I was being hired for a job, not to give my personal opinion on how he thought this was going to affect his children and how anyone could not work on a relationship with “The Most Beautiful Woman of the Year”, so instead I said, “Okay, so you want my advice on how to handle the release of this business information?”

“Yes,” he said. “We think that we should just sort of split up, I will live in my home in Long Island, And Jenny-pooh (At least that’s what I think he called her) will live in our Pacific Palisades estate. Then over time, people will just sort of understand that we are not together.”

I watched the American Idol thing they did and as did not see this coming, but again, he was asking for advice in my area of expertise.

“No, Marc. I wouldn’t do that. You have to get ahead of this thing.

You don’t want to quietly let the news your failed business relationship be leaked out. You want to control the media, don’t let the media control you.”

“Oh,” he said. “So what your saying is that we should put our a general statement and then as the media hunts for reasons, we come out separately and talk to some entertainment news people and share our stories?”

“No way, Marc. That is pathetic. It might make for some great news headlines on Entertainment Tonight, or DMZ, but that would not be good for your future businesses.” I said. “I assume that you guys will continue to make music, sell your clothes, and other products?”

“Yes, of course we will,” he said. “I just don’t want a public relations black eye.”

“Then what you have to do is come out publically, together. Say that despite the partnership not working, you to are going to continue in business together. Be honest about affairs…”

“There was no infidelity,” Marc cut me off. “I am 100% sure on my part, Jennifer said she didn’t, and I believe her.”

“Then say that. Take ownership of your failure. Say that you both failed to work at the marriage. Own the failure. Do not say something silly like the marriage quit working. Don’t point the finger at some element that had no part in it. You two were the marriage. You both failed.”

The line was quiet.

“That’s my advice, Marc. First, come out together publically and own the failure. Be honest about it, and state the reason why the partnership failed, but the business will continue.”

The line was quiet for a moment. “Okay, J. I have heard what you are suggesting, and I will check with our handlers to see if we will do that.”

I had a gut feeling that he would not. If you have read the news, you know that they chose not to listen to me. Our conversation end with him offering me VIP passes to one of his Miami shows, but I had to decline as I our kids are in school and I did not want to totally disrupt their lives. Then he said something about Jennifer having this crush on me and how she always wished she had met me before I had married, but you don’t need to hear all that.

Thanks for reading.

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