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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Someone Has Made a Bad Error? Firing is Not Always The Solution!

The media was awash recently about the problems encountered by TSB and their implementation of a new package of ERM software that went vastly awry.  How often have we heard that sad tale. 

It seems to be a truism that whenever we install new software especially ERM that it takes probably twice as long as the most pessimistic estimate.

This is not to complain about the software; it is much easier to moan and complain about the inability of the CEO to run the company properly and look what I have suffered as a consequence etc, etc, etc.

Accordingly the media launches into a great campaign and frankly by building some mob excitement to attach blame to someone who is directly innocent but in overall charge of the business.

The rights and wrongs of the matters are not a 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 want to know who is to blame and what punishment would be appropriate.

It was equally refreshing to hear a learned Professor today saying that blame followed by firing the perceived miscreant does nothing to solve the problem but merely satisfies the human need for revenge.

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

Far better 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.
Add to this always make sure that everyone is kept in the loop and are made well aware of the progress being made to solve the issue.

In the case of TSB they made a perfectly valid statement of acceptance of problem and immediately announced that the bank would indemnify anyone who had a serious problem and would offer compensation in any case.

It is only by that sort of initiative that changes can be made effectively to minimise at least the likelihood of a repeat.  By the way, if changes are not implemented and nothing improves, then at that stage it would 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 that latches on to subjects “in the public interest” when the real rationale is to sell more papers.

I remember the story of the team member who made a serious error and caused the business to experience a loss of $250K.  He immediately very honestly offered his resignation.

The CEO rejected the offer and pointed out that as he had made the error the best person to solve the problem was him.  Anyone else would not have the experience.

That was a very sensible and far-sighted decision and is to be celebrated.  Perhaps the owners of a few football clubs could take notice.


Rant over – I hope that you are having a happy, sunny and warm Bank Holiday weekend!


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