This article first appeared on July 20, 2011.
The startling fact to come out of the News Corporation hacking scandal from a management point of view is the lack of information that was apparently reaching to top levels of the company.
According to Rupert Murdoch’s statements to a British Parliamentary inquiry, he wasn’t told about key events in the company (such as the payment of millions of dollars to settle hacking complaints) that presumably would have had him scurrying to fix the problem.
Which should raise a question in the minds of entrepreneurs: If something awful happened at your company, would you be sure to find out in a timely fashion?
In a small company, this isn’t such a big problem. But there is still a chance that certain staff members could do something unethical and keep it quiet enough that it doesn’t attract the attention of the boss.
One way to prevent issues sneaking through is to have a formal process through which staff can report suspected unethical behaviour.
In a large business, you might have a special phone number. But in a smaller firm, this might be as simple as having an email address.
The point is to make it publicly clear to all staff that this reporting mechanism exists and all reports will be taken seriously.
With this in place, hopefully you will be able to spot any scandals before they get too big.
Get it done – today!