Michigan’s Mike Hart Makes Good on Guarantee. But What Can Businesses Learn From This?

As a big fan of college football I was intrigued a few weeks ago when Michigan opened the football season 0-2, especially with one of the losses coming at the hands of Appalachian State. What intrigued me more was Michigan’s Mike Hart guaranteeing a win against Notre Dame after getting beat by Oregon. In his words this is what he said:

We’re going to win next week,” Hart said. “There’s no question in my mind. I guarantee we will win next week. I’m going to get this team ready. Guaranteed.

Hart set himself up for criticism and you could tell the media would have liked to have seen Notre Dame win, too. Had Michigan lost, that clip would have been played countless times by the media and would have become fodder for the media.

Businesses can learn a lot from Hart’s prediction and that is don’t guarantee anything: sales, products launches, etc. There’s a reason PR pros tell executives to message product launches to say a product will be available in Q3, etc., because it gives the organization a window to work in case something disastrous happens. Giving the media a guarantee that something will happen can set you up for criticism that may come back and haunt you in the future.

In this case Mike Hart made good on his promise, but that doesn’t always happen.