Road to 2023

No Need for Whistleblowing : Stand Up to the Culture

Teror for WBS personWe operate in an age that increasingly demands financial and operational transparency and high standards of conformance to legal and moral requirements. Those who fail to maintain these standards pay with multibillion dollar legal judgments, the dissolution of venerable firms, dishonorable dismissals, and even jail sentences.

This trend was codified for publicly traded corporations by The Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Included among the many reforms is strong whistleblower protection language and severe penalties for violations. Both whistleblowers and the organizations whose wasteful or elicit practices they spotlight usually pay a high price. Is there a way for leaders to correct themselves short of blowing the whistle to regulatory bodies?

The simple answer is to provide better internal mechanisms for surfacing and investigating questionable practices. These include board governance reforms, better internal audit procedures, and formal decision making processes. However, are these measures sufficient? Not if the unwritten rules of the culture place higher value on something other than open communication and self-correction. In public companies, it is the imperative for profit growth and shareholder value. In a government agency, it may be keeping key powerful constituencies satisfied. In the military, it may be loyalty. In religious institutions, it may be maintaining their spiritual leadership image. While formal policy may say otherwise, there are implicit rules with powerful social and career consequences against speech that questions these core values.

Thus, it often comes down to the courage of a lone individual to stand up to the culture and raise questions that should be addressed internally before they rise to the level of requiring outside intervention. This individual is potentially providing a great service, but the leadership often does not recognize this until too late. Their narrow perception of self-interest blinds them to the opportunity for timely, internal correction.

Does this mean that boards and management are helpless to transform these dynamics? Not at all!. However, because of those dynamics, they tend to underestimate how much commitment is required to do so. They will substitute a written policy that provides some measure of legal protection for true cultural change. What can they do to improve this dangerous state of affairs?

  • Surface and examine the core driving values, their measurements and rewards, which compete with legal and moral imperatives and best practices. Until these conflicts are articulated and acknowledged, they will block open dialog and self-correction.
  • •Train senior managers to recognize the tendency to screen out or devalue information contrary to their own mental models. Train them to actively listen and give dissenting views genuine, respectful consideration.
  • Provide parallel development programs for employees that encourage them to make full use of the leadership’s commitment to open dialogue. Encourage them to raise issues with the leadership and determine for themselves if it is now safe to raise even more sensitive issues should this be needed.
  • Build rewards into the system for constructive dissent. Recognize the value of constructive dissent in performance reviews and awards.
  • Establish safe channels of communication and make them as free as possible of the cultural pressures. The top of this channel should be independent from the hierarchical leadership and possesses the stature to confront the leadership if it is failing to heed important information from below. This is the last stop before a whistleblower concludes he or she must go outside.

The best safeguards of the integrity of leaders are their followers. If you build open relationships that can be trusted, the only whistle you will hear will be in your own ear when an issue needs your attention.


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About muhsin budiono

Karyawan, Followership Practitioner dan Penulis Buku. Mengenyam pendidikan di Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember jurusan Marine Engineering (Lulus tahun 2006) dan Narotama University studi Management (Lulus tahun 2014). Followership Practitioner pertama di Indonesia [Certified by Ira Chaleff, Belgium-2017]. Anggota ILA (International Leadership Association). Pemegang Rekor MURI (Museum Rekor Dunia-Indonesia). Disaat banyak orang Indonesia memuji dan mendalami Leadership, muhsin memilih jatuh hati pada Followership sejak 2007 yang lalu. Di tahun 2013 muhsin menulis buku tentang belajar Followership ala Indonesia berjudul "The Jongos Ways" (TJW) yang fenomenal dan menggugah ribuan pekerja di Indonesia. Berbekal buku TJW muhsin semakin getol membumikan Followership ke seluruh penjuru nusantara secara cuma-cuma/tanpa memungut biaya melalui kegiatan-kegiatan seminar, bedah buku, pembuatan video animasi hingga konsultasi gratis. Hal itu dilakukan sebab menurutnya Indonesia sudah “terlambat” lebih dari 23 tahun dalam mengembangkan Followership. Atas upayanya tersebut pada akhir tahun 2014 muhsin mendapat undangan dari International Leadership Association untuk menghadiri International Followership Symposium di Amerika sebagai satu-satunya wakil dari Indonesia. Disana ia intens berdiskusi dengan beberapa pakar followership dunia dan dinisbatkan sebagai pemerhati followership pertama dari Indonesia. Di tahun 2016 Muhsin juga mendapat kehormatan untuk berbicara tentang Followership dihadapan ratusan praktisi Human Resources di Indonesia dalam forum nasional the 8th Indonesia Human Resources Summit (IHRS). Sementara ini muhsin berkarya di Perusahaan Migas Nasional kebanggaan Indonesia: PT Pertamina (Persero) dan sedang mengumpulkan serta menyusun kerikil demi kerikil untuk dijadikan batu lompatan dalam meraih cita-cita sebagai International Islamic Followership Trainer di tahun 2023 mendatang. Muhsin juga memiliki keinginan kuat untuk resign bekerja agar bisa kuliah/belajar lagi di Saudi Arabia guna mendalami teori Islamic Followership yang sedang dikembangkannya.


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Road to International Islamic Followership Trainer

18 June 2023
8 days to go.

Buku Karya Pertama

JTIG : Jadi Trainer itu Gampang

Jadi Trainer Itu Gampang : Panduan Praktis untuk Memulai Menjadi Trainer dan Pemandu Pelatihan di Usia Muda. (LMT Trustco - Jakarta)

Buku Karya Kedua

The Jongos Ways : Pekerja Tangguh yang Bahagia dan Penuh Manfaat itu Anda (Penerbit : Elex Media Komputindo)

Buku Karya Ketiga

Berani Berjuang: Realita Cinta, Pertamina dan Bangsa Indonesia (A tribute to Mr. Ugan Gandar). Elex Media Komputindo

Buku Karya Keempat

Memorable Book Banjir Bandang Kota Bima - NTB tanggal 21 & 23 Desember 2016 (Elex Media Komputindo)

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