This is a short blog because I don’t want to waste words hiding my key points.
I’ll say it out loud:
• Whistleblowing is a cry for help.
• Whistleblowers care enough to risk their job and their future.
• Whistleblowers are courageous.
• Organisations that wait until whistleblowers go ‘public’ before they act deserve what they get.
However, organisations are not necessarily guilty.
Bad stuff happens in all organisations – sometimes intentional, more often not. What can start as a mistake can lead to established practice if no one cares enough to say ‘why’ or ‘no’ or ‘are you sure’? In today’s complex global world, local market laws and practices can easily be transgressed without intention. I know – I spent most of my corporate and interim career trying to help organisations implement business decisions that were also legal and ethical.
Even when laws are not broken, changing public perceptions can make previously tolerated practices unacceptable (just ask the tax experts at Starbucks!).
By creating opportunities and communication channels, building a culture that encourages debate and developing the courage competency in employees, organisations can avoid their own ‘Bradley Manning’ moment.
And the good news is that they’ll also end up increasing innovation, reducing employee turnover and increasing productivity.
Not a bad result when you’re only trying to stop having your name being dragged across the papers!