Today is an interesting day. As a 12-year-old, I often accompanied my mother to her office at the Watergate where she worked on Sargent Shriver’s Vice-Presidential campaign. My political leanings and experience started by volunteering in that office. The office at the center of the Watergate hearings.
Today, I am writing as the House begins another investigation. If you know me, you know I am a partisan but if you don’t share my politics, I hope you’ll keep reading anyway.
While far more important to our nation than a corporate whistleblower complaint, there are some things we can translate. What do you do as an executive leader, when there is a complaint?
Tip 1. Take a deep breath. Whistleblower complaints are by definition concerns raised by someone concerned about retaliation. By definition, it arrives with anxiety attached. The first thing on your plate is to not overreact but to act.
Tip 2. Plan. How do you protect the person who raised the concern? Who do you need to talk to under what circumstances? Who else needs to be involved? What are the guardrails and rules to be aware of?
Tip 3. Act. Respond in a timely fashion and take the time necessary to understand what is actually happening. Most of us are blind men with the elephant – we clearly know what we know to be true but rarely have the full picture and context which is necessary to resolve a complaint.
Have you ever had to do this? What did you learn that might help others?