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Monday, 30 May 2011

Something Gone Wrong? Heads Must Roll!

The media has been awash over the past few days about the appeal won by the sacked Director of Children Services at Haringey, not to mention the sad tale of a fallen footballer, and they are in a fine frenzy of vilification as a consequence.

The rights and wrongs of the matters are not an appropriate subject for this blog, but the underlying ethos of blame is very much at the forefront of my thinking.

It is consistent in BBC programmes like Today, PM and other news programmes that when “investigating” a perceived wrong, the interviewer always seems to want to know who is to blame and what punishment would be appropriate.
It was equally refreshing to hear a learned Professor on the radio today saying that blame followed by firing the perceived miscreant does nothing to solve the problem but merely satisfies the human need for vengeance.

If something serious happens, as it did at Haringey, sacking the Director and replacing her with a new incumbent means that the newcomer had to go through a learning process which may or may not be successful.

Far better (and braver) to keep the people in place and monitor how they address the processes and procedures which led to the problem; in other words addressing the root cause and not the effect.

It is only by those means that changes can be made effectively to minimise at least the possibility of a repeat.  By the way, if changes are not implemented and nothing improves, then at that stage it would be right and proper to start the disciplinary process.

If changes like that can happen then it might reduce the hypocritical, stomach-churning, “holier than thou” preaching of the media which latches on to subjects “in the public interest” when the real rationale is to sell more papers.

End of rant – I hope that you all had a happy Bank Holiday weekend!

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Anonymous said...

I think this story is being driven by the smug smile on Sharon Shoesmith's face as she walked out of court combined with her utter inability to acknowledge the fact that she was responsible for this dysfunctional department, the word 'sorry' doesn't seem to be in her vocabulary.

You can delegate authority, you can't delegate responsibility.

Mike Armitage - Business Coach said...

My very first boss in Italy was a gruff Dutchman named Hein.

He always used to say that if someone makes a mistake once - then he is learning.

If he makes the same mistake a second time - then he is an idiot.

If he makes the same mistake a third time - then you are the idiot. . . . .

for not having fired him the second time around!

Thanks Hein!