The latest issue of the National Association of Corporate Directors magazine includes an article on the value of an Organizational Ombuds program. Written by James Hostetler and Jon McBride, the piece explains why that incorporating Ombuds as part of a comprehensive conflict management system creates tangible value for a corporation.
Here's a short excerpt:
Think of conflict resolution as happening within a continuum from 1 to 15. Whistleblowing happens at about 14 on that continuum, when individuals are near the end of their rope. What if there were a mechanism, at, say, 2 on the continuum, where they could find their voice, be heard and experience a culture of candor and trust? What if there were a safe place to raise difficult issues and get clarity and coaching about what options exist to resolve the conflict? The Office of the Ombudsman offers just such a culture, and gives the employee a safe place to sort out issues while providing an early warning system to the board and management. Issues that never would have seen the light of day surface early and get resolved. Isn’t that better than allowing them to fester until they blow up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal?
McBride is president and Hostetler is managing director of McBride Associates LLC, a board advisory firm in Washington, DC, and they have contributed several articles advocating on behalf of Ombuds in the past few years. (NACD Directorship.)