Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finger Pointing In Business

It is really rare that anything really good, or really bad, that happens in business is the result of any one person's work, or effort.   Accomplishments, or the lack thereof, are usually the result of complex relationships that exist between tasks, people, or departments.   Yet, success has many fathers and failure is an orphan.   When things go wrong, rather than look in a mirror, the finger pointing often occurs.   Problems are always someone else's fault; but the truth is that after lifting rocks, we usually find that there is a multi-disciplinary cause and effect relationship that is the basis for errors, or poor results. 

The key is understanding that relationship so that errors don't happen again.   It would actually be better for employees to admit their role in causing serious problems to allow for better problem solving.   Of course, this CEO Blogger is not talking about employee actions that are clearly  illegal, or unethical that should result in the immediate termination of those involved.   I am talking about errors that could be costly.   Once revealed, processes must be put in place to prevent the error from happening again.   That means all the players that contributed to the error must first admit their part and second correct whatever they are doing to cause the error. 

The worst possible scenario is to hide errors from Senior Management because eventually things come to light.   Oh what a tangled web they weave when they practice to deceive.  At that point, the cover up becomes far worse than the crime.   This CEO Blogger has discovered shenanigans after the fact, again nothing illegal, but just plain stupid mistakes that cost us money.   When that sort of thing happens, I have pushed the people involved aside and ultimately taken responsibility away from them, usually in a company reorganization.   In some cases, terminations have occurred.  For me anyway, once my trust is violated, it is all over.

Finger pointing is pretty ugly and often counter productive.   It is critical to recognize that companies win or lose as a team.   It is better for everyone involved in a problem situation be part of the solution, rather than contribute to the problem.   Most important, as soon as a serious problem is discovered, take it to Senior Management.   There is no hiding anyway, so it is better to surface the problem sooner than later. 

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