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The recent issue at RBS isn’t their fault it’s ours

27th Jun 2012
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Everyone is very quick to point the finger at others, as I wrote in a blog some time ago when we had the last media witch hunt. It’s IT’s fault, it’s the decision to outsource, it’s outsourcing, it’s the CEO, it’s all banks, it’s India etc etc. I’m sure the analysis of all the contributory factors will take some time to come out.

The fact remains it is likely there will have been hundreds of different points along the way where someone raised an issue with what was happening. Someone said:

  • This won’t work
  • There’s a problem
  • Slow down
  • We’re not ready
  • We need to do something different
  • There are risks
  • If we do that this will happen
  • We don’t have the right skills

The biggest problem is that these statements weren’t taken seriously. They weren’t taken seriously and action wasn't taken by:

  • The person thinking the thoughts and not articulating them
  • The person saying them
  • The team hearing them
  • The project manager
  • The manager
  • The auditor
  • The risk manager
  • The executive
  • The CEO

Why, of course, is the million dollar, or in this case the multimillion dollar, question. I'm sure we’ll all have different answers – mine to add to the mix would include: 

  • The speed we’re all working
  • Ego’s needing to be heard and not listening – see previous blog
  • Culture of “Yes” and not “No”
  • Lack of taking responsibility
  • Unrealistic expectations – within and out with the company
  • Lack of effective communication
  • Fear of repercussions
  • Ineffective nmanagement of the process, peopel and suppliers 

And these are certainly not only happening just in RBS.

What behaviours in business do you think are contributing to these types of issues and what can you change to ensure you’re part of the solution not the problem? Because if we've ever kept quiet when we knew we needed to say something we're no different than all those within RBS who contributed to this latest fiasco.

Alison Smith

The Purchasing Coach

Sowing the seeds for effective communication in procurement


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