[November 02, 2013] In early September, I wrote about how it is an important characteristics of senior leaders to develop trust and confidence in our employees, our boss, our peers, and customers.
It is always a good thing to find an example of success so that we can learn from what made it possible. Another method of wisdom is to learn from other’s failures. There are plenty of both to find.
The most recent example of a loss of trust and confidence, are the problems with the U.S. government’s website to enroll citizens in health care insurance as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Some of the issues have been:
- Disrupted sign-up in the web system
- Data and privacy risks
- Complexity and confusion on the site
We are told that this is mostly technical and will be resolved soon.
The handling of the website rollout, handled by senior government officials, was less than stellar. For example, there was no warning in advance to the public there would be, potentially, sign-up problems. We now know that senior government officials were warned in advance but chose not to tell us. Once the problem became too obvious to ignore, initially no senior official was willing to take responsibility or to hold any other government official accountable. Noew we hear about more problems with the website that goes beyond its sign-up problem including data risks and inaccuracies, just to name a few.
We do hear excuses – lots of excuses and finger pointing – that problems are only technical issues and will soon be corrected. While this is probably true, the loss of trust and confidence in our government officials is huge. Sadly, this could have been circumvented with some straightforward communication and better decisions by senior leaders with the relevant experience and moral courage.
The longer term problem here is that the actual service being provided by our government now will be received with even more skepticism and distrust of the product. This comes at a time when our government already is at historic lows on how they are viewed by citizens.
The site can be found at: https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/individual/