Thursday, July 12, 2012

This Is Gonna Hurt

The bottom line, from the just released Penn State sexual abuse investigation, concludes:

"Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large.”
If that were confirmed in a court of law, it would amount to serious criminal behavior on the part of the former University President, Athletic Director, the late Head Coach and the now retired Senior Vice-President of Finance and Business.

The report added:  “These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001.

The report also concluded:  "The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims. As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no "attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property.”

Now the University has got to get its response perfect on the first go.
This is another example of my “management rule number 1” – do the RIGHT THING to begin with and then you won’t have to worry about doing the RIGHT THING later.

Penn State must pick the proper spokesperson and acknowledge everything that was not done right, and pledge to make sure it never happens again. Once they make that straight forward statement, then they must buckle down and deliver.

The lesson is here for every other college, university, non-profit and business – when anything goes wrong, deal with it, don’t ignore it or try to cover it up.  The initial “pain” will almost always be far less severe than the ultimate damage compounded by denial and/or a cover up.

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