13 Jun 2016
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JetBlue Chairman on How to Handle Betrayal

Re: Victoria Brown (MBA 2003)

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(Big Think)

Over at Big Think—described as “a YouTube for ideas,” and cofounded by Victoria R. Montgomery-Brown (MBA 2003)—JetBlue Chairman Joel Peterson (MBA 1973) offers advice on how to cope with betrayal.

Betrayal, Peterson says, comes with giving trust—and that makes us complicit.

“You’ve had a part to do with it. It could be that you trusted when you shouldn’t have trusted. You didn’t think about whether the person had high character, was competent and had the authority and therefore shame on you. We don’t like to take responsibility for that but I think if you step back and say how did I participate in this? I think that gives you insight and sort of the first ability to start approaching it in a way that allows you to heal.”

If the betrayals are fixable, Peterson says they must be addressed quickly, so as not to “fester.” For businesses, this might mean staffing changes.

“I always say that you need to get the wrong people off the bus. There are people in most companies that shouldn’t be there and therefore you need to—it’s kind of a betrayal of them to keep them on the bus and they’re betraying the company by staying on the bus. So I think some things you just have to address and move on and just say this is a betrayal I’m not going to try to fix.”

The worst thing to do? Marinate on the betrayal. The best thing? Get over it. “The way that I’ve done that is I really realized that when I’m starting to think about the future and I’m no longer waking up thinking about what happened,” says Peterson, “then actually that’s the first step towards forgiveness.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1973, Section H

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