12/10/2012 12:31 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2013

The Prank That Sank

What were those two DJs thinking? Answer: Only themselves.

My heart sank when I read the news that the nurse tragically died after being a victim of a prank from the two DJs from the Australian radio station. The coworkers were likely focused on ratings, sensationalism and a raise if the prank went through.

Disgusting negligence and a sad day for the DJs' parents. Their lives will forever be changed as a result of the thoughtless deed that their children consciously decided to pull.

For a moment, I imagined the sheer delight the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, must have thought when she picked up that phone and thought the Queen of England and her husband were on the phone; a once-in-a-lifetime call she could describe and re-describe to family and friends for years to come. Given her dedication to ensuring the well-being and safety of others, she naturally provided the information not knowing that formal protocol with this kind of information should have been put in place or administered to her given the future Queen of England was in-house.

Many times in my long career, my staff, and even I, have pulled pranks on each other and unsuspecting co-workers.

The difference here was all the pranks we ever pulled were never meant to be under the scrutiny of the entire company, never mind the world. Our idea of prank was only intended for a private embarrassment between the recipient and the ones who actually did it.

Sometimes a prank can actually help. Specifically, someone who worked in my group had a personal aroma issue and no one knew how to tell him, "Buddy, take a bath already!" My group did discuss it with me and we needed to take action among ourselves versus going to HR. It was decided to leave a gift basket with all things for a spa bathroom which would include soap, deodorant, lovely smelling shampoo and conditioner and of course -- a razor! The hint paid off and we all went along with our business and great relationships.

I will end this with a prayer for the parents of the two DJs. I'm sorry for them. Hopefully the DJ's will do something critically important and life-changing for the family of Ms. Saldanha and themselves; it started with an apology.