Who Knew?

Our former Prime Minister is providing plenty of material to write about at the moment.  For this article, he is simply the instigator, not the total reason for the content.

We now know there will be an independent inquiry into the former Prime Minister’s appointment to five different ministries without the public knowing about the appointments.  The inquiry will investigate, how these appointments happened, why they happened and who knew about them.

Who knew?  That question can be asked in any situation about a myriad of topics.  Also, what is the intention behind the question, ‘who knew’?  What do we want to gain from asking the question?  Do we want to lay blame?  Or do we want to learn why a situation occurred with the intent to make improvements – what is working, what is not?

It is highly likely you have been in a position, either in the workplace or elsewhere where a decision or action has been taken and there are those who know about it and those who do not.  The reasons can be quite simple i.e., it is private and confidential and cannot be revealed.  Or there can also be the situation where only those in the inner circle know.

Why?  There can be many drivers for every situation.

The question then is why don’t people speak up?  Why don’t people speak up if there is the danger of someone being unsafe or a negative outcome?  Bearing in mind a negative outcome may be mild or catastrophic.

Put simply, it depends on the climate of a team.  What do we think we are working towards?  What is important for us?  What are acceptable behaviours for how we work together and what are not?  These ‘climates’ create the culture of an organisation.  If it is acceptable to be secretive and not share information that is what will be demonstrated.  If it is known speaking up is not accepted and there will be a consequence, that will also be demonstrated.

How well is information shared in your team, business, or organisation?  Are you creating a culture where speaking up in any manner is prohibited?  What impact is that having?

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