Kansas, Tornadoes and Wells Fargo (Oh My!)

On our last road trip across Kansas, we had been driving for hours under blue skies, with temperatures in the 70s and no wind. Suddenly, the only radio station within reception range broke into the broadcast with a tornado warning. Tornado warning? There wasn’t a cloud in the sky! What are they talking about? There must be some mistake.

resized_20161006_162603Faster than I thought possible, the black clouds rolled in. The rain came down so hard that it was difficult to see the road ahead. The wind picked up dramatically, and off to the right we saw the tornado. (Randy took this photo from our car as we raced across I-70.) Then, as quickly as it started… it was over. Luckily, there was very little damage, but I will never look at Kansas the same way again.

The tornado seemed to come out of nowhere… but in retrospect, it didn’t. We had warnings; we just didn’t listen to them.

A similar situation happens to businesses more often than they care to admit. In fact, this is almost exactly what happened to Wells Fargo bank. The sales quota scandal didn’t come out of nowhere. There were multiple warnings to HR, to managers, to the Executive Team… and every warning was ignored. The cost – both monetarily and to their firm’s reputation – has been and will continue to be astronomical.

If you hear rumors or whispers of something going on in your business that doesn’t seem right, know that those are usually the tip of the iceberg. It is almost always far bigger than you are aware of, and you must heed those warnings quickly.

It is the only way to avoid your business being swept up by a tornado.