Monday, 14 October 2013

"...the mud of recent history..."

[Originally published on the Aspley Consultants website]

On the BBC’s News at 10 last October, its social affairs editor, Mark Easton, drew a connection between several inquiries that had recently been set up to look into alleged ‘wrongdoing’:
Easton used a memorable phrase, suggesting that Britain was trying “to clean itself…[of]…the mud of recent history.”

People have followed the above stories with a broad range of emotions from dismay to disgust but such responses are an unhelpful distraction when considering what can and should be learnt here.

Each of the inquiry reports will no doubt have much to say about the culture of the institutions under examination.

However, regardless of the formal outcome of this ‘cleansing’ process, unless the leaders in each institution are prepared to demonstrate, by their own behaviour, that honesty, self-criticism and openness are signs of strength and not weakness… unless such qualities are held up to be the route to promotion above all others…unless incentives are adjusted to reward the honest confession of errors, rather than to punish those errors…unless sustained, deliberate effort is made to identify and address defensive behaviour – unless all these things happen, then very few of the more specific recommendations will have much chance of changing anything at all.

Only an organisation with a strong learning culture could be trusted to investigate itself over behaviour such as has been alleged but then, such an organisation would never have allowed such behaviour to happen in the first place. For more information about a learning culture and how Knoco can help organisations to develop one, follow this link to learning culture section on the Knoco website.

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