Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Ability to Question

Close-up of a pen on a black notebook

[Photo by Thomas Martinsen at Unsplash]

A management lesson remembered: Years ago, I handled Equal Employment Opportunity matters for the City of Phoenix. Our team was very successful at preventing discrimination. A very big reason why was that, unlike many other EEO offices, we were not in the Human Resources Department.

Now this is not to say that our HR people were difficult to deal with or that they constituted any sort of barrier. Quite the contrary. We had an excellent HR Department and I enjoyed great rapport with them. But if you are going to prevent discrimination problems, one of the first and constant areas you need to examine is your organization's personnel practices, including recruitment, testing, and job requirements. You need to be free to question Human Resources.

It is far more difficult to raise such questions about your own department. As a relative outsider who reported to a Deputy City Manager, I was independent. I could discuss HR practices that might need to be changed and do so with a clout that would have been absent had my team operated within HR.

I mention this because that independence did not make a small difference. 

It made a huge difference.

Organizations that ignore it are running silent but significant risks.


Bloggophereo said...

You missed your calling to be an internal auditor! - Bobbo (Certified Internal Auditor)

Michael Wade said...


There is a great similarity between our two lines of work!