I’ve been following the Post Office “Horizon” scandal for the past five years or so, having first read about it in Private Eye. I was pleased to see it begin to draw to a close this week, with a further legal victory for the victims of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent memory.
Re-listening to the fantastic Radio 4 documentary series on the case, presented by Nick Wallis, I was struck by the internal culture of Royal Mail. How could it possibly be that the most senior people in the organisation were unaware of the problems that existed within their own business, even right up to the point of disaster? How could they waste tens of millions of pounds pursuing a hopeless lie, ruining countless lives in the process?
The reason, I think, is the reason why senior people often have the least realistic view of their own businesses: because of the thermocline of truth. That’s the subject of this week’s article; I hope you enjoy it.
What the Royal Mail IT scandal can teach us about the nature of truth inside organisations, and why things often look perfectly fine until right before they fall apart.