It's well established, by 'Roads to Ruin', that behavioural and organisational risks both cause crises and tip them into reputational catastrophes. Igonorance of these risks, which is widespread, leaves leaders living in a rose-tinted bubble. Until the bubble bursts.
To judge by what has emerged so far in the Savile debacle, it's likely that fundamentally important risks at the BBC include:
- poor internal communication that leaves leaders in the dark about important information
- a culture that leads to turning a 'blind eye'
- a culture of "what's normal around here" that doesn't stand external scrutiny
- inability to see themselves as outsiders see them
- inability to learn from past mistakes
- incentives not to 'rock the boat'
- inability to see or deal with fundamental risks to their licence to operate
- reluctance to recognise the potential toxicity of their track record.
It took decades for the BBC to build its reputation. But as the FT once wrote of BP, one more bad step could send the BBC to oblivion.
The BBC will only set its reputation back on solid foundations if it fixes the fundamentals. But first it has to find them. Systematically. The current enquiries won't get near that.