March 7 2018
The banning of the Reverend Flowers – see here – is no surprise, though the reasons perhaps are. His total unfitness for his role should perhaps have been as much of a consideration as his questionable moral compass and extra-curricular hobbies. Still, it is a reminder that due diligence – real due diligence not the cursory box-ticking which it too often is – is essential before any hire. A lesson the FCA might also have learned given its own less than glorious role in the sorry affair – see here. Another inquiry into the Co-operative Bank is now on its way. Will it tell us much more than the 2014 Kelly Review which concluded that “There was a pervasive lack of realism about the underlying strength of the business, partly arising out of a belief that as an ethical bank it was doing the right things…..”? Paradoxically, a belief that you are a good person or good organisation can lead to a dangerous complacency. It’s not what you call yourself that matters; it’s what you do.
And one of the most important things you can do is to hire the right people into an organisation. As Warren Buffet put it – “You look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”