Contracts & Negotiations
Wheels In True
60“I am disappointed to find out in mid-September that they are not counting on me.” Paolo Bettini on non-renewal even as reigning World Champion
There may be no good time to learn your team is no longer counting on you. Even World Champions are not exempt from enduring this season of negotiating change. Like balancing bike wheels, this is a time for truing up objectives among parties. Honest business deals don’t affect whether or not the truth hurts. No matter how sensitively expressed or timed a termination, separation means status quo is altered.
Caring Directors wrestle with the best time to discuss the exit details so as not to affect a rider’s current results but also leave time for a rider to search elsewhere. It’s an annual dilemma. There may be no good time, but there is an acceptable transaction period where facing hard facts influences the direction of futures. The more involved and active a rider is in comparing a team’s future needs against individual offerings, the better it is for maintaining equilibrium during the shifting sponsorship season.
A rider’s attitude about this annual ritual makes the situation easier all around. On one occasion, I delivered bad news regarding non-renewal to a rider considerately and realistically. The facts showed he was coming up short, including his outlook. Management did not want to promote him. My thought was to give him other options and encourage him with a suggestion for a different strategy for next year. He used the strategy, found a better fit for his abilities, and had another year of satisfactory racing for those goals; however, he resented me anyway. Despite presenting an alternative solution, as the bearer of bad news I was blamed. This rider still does not take responsibility for his actions and it shows in his choices. He never improved; he couldn’t own the reasons for status quo and therefore, he could not work to improve.
These situations are as difficult for Directors as they are for riders. No one wants to negotiate difficult news. The alternative is worse. Dishonest dealings lead to broken contracts and legal problems; the community is affected from sponsors to fans. With so much at stake every late summer, let’s not burn each other in the heat of these truthful times.
Prayer for Contracts & Negotiations
“I appeal to you, brother…that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 611 Corinthians 1:10
We pray for fairness and honesty in hiring, clear-cut communication to make necessary changes if contractual issues arise, and realistic expectations by all parties.
Ponder Am I a suitable rider for this team? Is this the best team for me? Affirm I ask management to keep me in the loop regarding the team’s future. Watch and know your sponsor’s objectives and management’s considerations.
60“Lefevere defends Quick Step signings,” by Gregor Brown First Edition Cycling News, September 12, 2008 Edited by Sue George and Laura Weislo www.cyclingnews.com
61The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society