We Didn’t Start the Fires

     A retired fire investigator I know scans the news everyday looking for fires that could have been prevented or quickly detected. I sometimes scan the news for aberrant incidents that could have been prevented or detected before causing devastating damage. Here is what I saw in a few minutes this week:

     These are just some of the sex with minors incidents that made the news this week. And for every incident in the news there are hundreds that never become public knowledge: Sexual harassment and assault, defalcation, fraud, discrimination – outright racism, theft, bribery, safety and security breaches, violations of law, policies, and procedures. We are becoming used to what had always been appalling, but to the victims the implications are very real and may well be horrifying. All of them share four common characteristics:

  • They were caused by an individual’s or individuals’, over 90% of whom had passed a background check, aberrant behavior.
  • Others knew of the behavior.
  • The behavior undermined the organization’s performance, in some cases significantly.
  • Virtually all the harm to the victim(s) and the organization would have been avoided if the behavior had been promptly addressed.

     Fires plagued our communities until effective means to prevent and detect them were developed - and implemented. The incidents above are analogous to fires: They could and should be prevented or at least quickly detected so that they can be stopped, and the damage minimized. 

     Effective solutions have been developed enabling organizations to prevent and detect problems including criminal acts. Government has done its part. SOX directed Sentencing Guidelines compel all organizations to meet U.S. Sentencing Commission requirements for a program, including a system, to prevent and detect criminal conduct. Organization experts and now consumers, especially with regard to family, strongly agree with the American Bar Association that programs to raise and address problems are a good practice and regardless of governance or size, every organization should voluntarily implement them.

     But less than 5% of small and medium businesses and nonprofits meet the U.S. Sentencing Commission requirements. As it was with fire prevention and detection, it is up to us to demand that the organizations that we interact with have a program and a system to prevent and detect problems including criminal acts.

     Don’t wait, act now. Some people involved in these incidents tell us a fire would have caused less damage.  

     TDeliver’s research based TConnect Alert app is the most likely to prevent and the first to detect problems including criminal acts. Contact me for additional information including other options and special offers.