Blog: When did you last challenge wrongdoing around you?
The situation surrounding Lance Armstrong is a great example of the danger of a typical hierarchy. The person at the top takes ultimate responsibility, sure. And what happens when that person is operating on the wrong side of the tracks? Very few people question them, and those who dare are often quickly silenced or dismissed. In the UK another altogether more sickening story is unfolding around the late Jimmy Savile. I’ve no wish to go into the details but it seems to be another example of what can happen when a ‘cover up’ culture and a powerful, influential person come together. If your company surveys its employees – I wonder how closely you and others look at the responses to questions like ‘It’s OK to speak up around here’? I’ve seen data from tens of thousands of responses which shows that over a five year period, negative responses to questions like the ‘speak up’ one, and similar ones about managing change well and keeping things simple are on the rise. Moral responsibility A challenge we have when times are tough, is that it can feel even harder to speak up for fear of reprisals and possibly losing your job. So we let stuff go. Stuff we know to be wrong, and the uncomfortable reality is that when the truth comes out, those who saw yet said and did nothing share at the very least, a slice of the moral responsibility. Last July, Rick over at FlipChart Fairy Tales wrote a great post when News International was under the spotlight for phone hacking, and it in he says that: 'When companies get caught doing things that are illegal or immoral, they often try to individualise the problem, expecting us to believe that it was just one or two bad apples in an otherwise decent organisation. Investment banks blame rogue traders , newspapers blame rogue journalists. 'It’s all rot, of course. High performance cultures, by definition, monitor performance. Their managers might not know exactly who has done what but they set the targets and they know what people do to achieve them.' It’s all very well plastering posters with company values like ‘Openness’ ‘Honesty’ and ‘Transparency about the place, but do they really accord with ‘the way stuff gets done around here’? If they don’t, you might as well take down the posters, roll ‘em up and use them to gag those who might dare to challenge the status quo. When was the last time you saw something you knew to be wrong happening around you? And what was your reaction? Doug Shaw is head of employee and customer engagement consultancy, What Goes Around. We welcome any and all contributions from the community, so please feel free to share your views and opinions with us, your colleagues and peers via our blogs section.
Doug Shaw | 07736 518066 | [email protected] | @dougshaw1
I am a facilitator, consultant and speaker. I help businesses improve performance through better communication, collaboration and applying creativity. I work with successful, curious and...