Gloria owns a water business at Ashongman. She started it about eight years ago producing sachet water on a small scale with water drawn from Ghana Water Company. Now she produces bottled water from two boreholes, in addition. Until recently, the business was doing well.
She made her immediate elder brother the company General Manager and Accountant; her maternal cousin, became the Production Manager and her paternal cousin, the Sales Manageress. She had subtly replaced the guys occupying these positions just about a year ago because she wanted to give her unemployed family people, jobs. Thus, she turned it into a sort of family business by default. The change was not predicated on the non-performance of the previous occupants of the positions. In fact they brought the company this far by dint of hard work.
She owned the business but she gave them equal latitude to argue their points at meetings and this inured to the company’s benefit. She promised each of them ten per cent shares in the company, if the company should capture the Greater-Accra region in sales volume.
The company had long since done that and added four more regions but Gloria was yet to fulfil her promise. Instead she replaced all of them.
Kojo, the security man watched everything inside the company yard with eagle eyes. He was there from the beginning, together with Kofi, the accounts clerk, another dedicated staff.
Their loyalty earned them the accolade of duo company backbone, from management.
Anytime a consignment of water left the premises, Kojo was sure to check the quantity loaded against the figures in the documents, often, to the irritation of the loaders and the drivers. He would return excess water loaded to the yard without reporting any loader or driver. And Kofi was sure to go through all sales and purchases or any other accounting record meticulously, ensuring that everything was properly accounted for.
The Company management observed these acts without comment but occasionally discussed duo’s performance at meetings. They agreed not to let the Company do anything extraordinary for them that might attract antagonism from other workers, but individually compensated them in ways that kept them always satisfied.
None of the workers knew how the name duo company backbone emerged but they all called them so, without bothering about the meaning.
In the second week of the new managers’ arrival, Kojo observed something unusual. The General Manager and Production Manager (PM) came to the warehouse when loading started. Just when the first truck was about to leave the yard, the production manager invited Kojo to his office. In the office, the Production Manager engaged Kojo in small talk, which was unrelated to work. He asked about Kojo’s marital status, whether he had children and about his ambitions. Kojo found the questions strange but responded as politely as he could. When he drew the PM’s attention to his absence at the main gate, he was told not to worry. A week later, Kojo was moved from the main gate to another location.
Six weeks into the arrival of the new managers, Kofi began to notice discrepancy among the daily productions, sales and stocks. While the production figures increased, the sales and stock figures failed to balance. After a month’s observation, he concluded that so much of the water sold was not being accounted for. He was unsure who to report to because the new managers were not as friendly as the old ones and Madam was so busy with meetings outside the premises. Kofi hardly saw her goings and comings to work.
Kofi confided in Kojo about his suspicions but told him to keep it quiet, if he wanted to remain working in the company. Kojo in turn told him that the very day he was removed from the gate he suspected the new managers were out to fleece the company.
Within a year, the company’s water production volume reduced to less than half. The company began to face cash flow challenges. To cut cost, the General Manager suggested a layoff of employees. Kofi and Kojo were among the first batch to be declared redundant and laid-off.
2. What is Dishonesty?
Dishonesty consists of being deliberately deceptive or predisposed to fraud. It also involves misleading people through lies or the twisting of facts
Dishonesty is lack of honesty or integrity: disposition to defraud or deceive
Gloria planted her own dishonesty into the company when she failed to honour her promise towards those managers who helped built the company for her.
Gloria’s family members saw the opportunity to make money in a dishonest way and never wasted the chance. It never even occurred to them that the collapse of the company might send them back to the state in which they were before getting the job. This negative culture of fleecing businesses entrusted into the hands of relatives and friends has crept into society and eroded trust.
3. How to deal with dishonest situation
a. Appreciate the impact. Assessing the impact of Gloria and her relatives’ dishonest behaviours and their implications will help evaluate the extent of damage done.
b. Confront the person. Human beings tend to protect their integrity. The sacked managers confronting Gloria would have had one effect or other on her. And Gloria confronting her relatives about poor performance of the company under their watch would definitely have brought a change
c. Address the impact. After confronting the person sit down to plan a course of action that is appropriate with the fraud and move ahead to seek some kind of redress.
d. Move Forward. As soon as possible put the situation behind you. It may not be easy to do, but it is a crucial element to taking your own power back, however, negatively impacted you are by someone’s unethical behaviour.