It seems as if every day we are reading about a new scandal occurring at some prominent company. And the types of scandal are widespread. Accounting fraud, embezzlement, executive malfeasance, price-fixing — you name it.
The Wall Street Journal would be two pages less each day if it were not following scandals.
If, however you find yourself in one of these companies where you thought your job was safe, overnight you begin to worry.
And you should. Sometimes, management begins wholesale changes to satisfy investors, media and the board. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is not unheard of.
Usually what happens is after the scandal publicly breaks the board fires the CEO or acts like Henry the VIII and sends a number of executives to the chopping block whether they were involved or not. The reasoning being “They should have known”.
The next step is investigations (internal and external), audits, etc. Rumors fly day and night.
Then some new executives are brought into key jobs with a board mandate to “Clean up the problems and restore integrity and reputation to this great company”.
Uh oh! New sheriffs in the building with no loyalty to you armed with brooms. That’s enough to snap your eyes open at 3 a.m.
So, how do you survive and even prosper in this dark environment? Well, sometimes you cannot — you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But often, you can do well.
The new players are looking for information, new ideas and progress. Remember, this company is a flying airplane, being repaired in the air and must keep moving forward. You can help. Stay positive. But, if you know of a real problem somewhere, then let the new management know. Volunteer to take the new executives around to all the physical plants that are appropriate. If there is an opening for a staff position to a new executive, try like hell to grab that position.
Do not become a tattletale. Don’t spread rumors. Do not become the person the new executives thinks tells on everyone else whether the problem is big or small. Then they will not trust you and will fire you when you run out of “tales”.
Get close — but get close the new crowd in a businesslike manner and with helpful information.
In other words act steadily, professionally and develop trust and loyalty one day at a time.