Your company's friend or foe

You can’t choose not to have a culture in your organisation. But you can choose to influence your culture. When it comes to influencing culture, the biggest challenge for Boards is not just about getting the values statement right. Instead, it’s understanding the assumptions that drive observable behaviours, irrespective of the ‘official’ position on culture.

Recent revelations on what can really happen on the ‘shop floor’ reinforces the need for Non-Executive Directors to closely consider and address the underlying assumptions of culture in the companies they serve. The positive version of what an organisation’s culture stands for and claims of consistent ethical behaviours need to be stress-tested.

Directors should consider whether they are making conscious choices about really getting to the bottom of culture, about influencing and governing it, or whether they are just hoping culture will take care of itself. Observing customer and employee touchpoints (for example, complaint handling) were previously thought of as an executive’s domain. But Boards are increasingly mindful of the importance to see these interactions for themselves.


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