Thursday, July 12, 2012

How Far Would You Go?

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The sports world has been rocked by the continued release of information revolving the the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State. The journey of discovery has been like peeling an onion--the further you peel, the stronger the story gets; the more you cry.

On July 12, 2012, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP released their 267-page report: "Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Actions of the Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky." What seemed to have been a tightly held secret has developed into one where many knew of the abuse--from janitors to the coaching staff and top-level Penn State leaders.

As horrific and extensive in nature as the Penn State scandal may be, I believe every organization should take a moment to ponder this historic leadership failure. What can your organization learn from the findings and  recommendations found within the Freeh Report?

In closing, I ask wildland fire leaders to ponder and/or discuss the following questions:
  • How far would you go to cover up something or someone or to protect your job or the organization?
  • Despite your position in the organization, do you have the leadership fortitude to do what's right and expose a wrong--even if it means losing your job?
  • As a senior leader in a crisis situation, do you have what it takes to expose a wrong doing that has occurred under your command?
Be sure to check out leadership expert John Baldoni's response in "What Leaders Can Learn from What Penn State Did Wrong" on the Forbes blog.

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