Why do many organisations put on the back-burner the task of building and reinforcing their desired business culture? Why does it need an inquiry to expose a business to their poor culture and practices?
The newspapers are full of companies who have been exposed to having ‘weak’ or ‘immature cultures’. That is how The Weekend Australian refers to the culture of one of the big 4 banks.
The latest governance and culture review was forced by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in light of Astrac’s damning court case against the bank. – The Weekend Australian, 18-19 July
Accountability & Ethics
Whatever happened to self-regulation and accountability to do the right thing for both staff and customers? Why have managers lost the plot in leading their people to act and behave in an ethical manner?
Developing people and leading them on the ‘right’ journey seems to have taken a back seat; apparently financial bottom lines and numbers beat it at the post. I had a chuckle when I saw the banks’ solution: “The Bank wants to boost accountability and empower its people by providing additional training”. Will training really fix the problem?
Living & Breathing Our Business Culture
So, what kind of people development program builds a ‘solid mature’ culture? What role do leaders play in driving the desired business culture?
How about boosting accountability? And empowering people through developing ethical leaders who serve the people (and customers) they lead?
Leaders who have the courage to look in their leadership mirror, have a starting point: They can measure how those they lead see their interpersonal effectiveness: They can understand their ability to build trust with others. After all, isn’t trust an essential ingredient in building an ethical and effective culture?
For the past 2 years Bridgeworks has been working with a large insurance institution. They have 3 core values that drive their behaviour and culture. Their leaders are passionate about living and breathing those foundational values. These values are a priority in all decision making.
Aussies look primarily to the behaviour of their leaders rather than some polished posters displaying ‘rules that we need to abide to’. It is refreshing to work with businesses that want a genuine change of culture and know that any ‘change’ starts at the top.
When Ethics Go Wrong
Sadly, many other businesses misunderstand culture. Too often they view nurturing a desired culture as a “NTH” rather than a “CTH”. In other words, a “Nice to Have” rather than a “Critical to Have”.
Take Volkswagen back in 2014 with their emissions testing program. As a result of the emissions scandal VW will recall huge numbers of cars: 8.5 million cars in Europe, including 2.4 million in Germany and 1.2 million in the UK, and 500,000 in the US.
No wonder the carmaker’s shares have fallen by about a third since the scandal broke.
It’s still unclear who knew what and when; yet VW must have had a chain of management command that approved fitting cheating devices to its engines; so further departures are likely.
“We’ve totally screwed up,” said VW America boss Michael Horn. And the group’s chief executive at the time, Martin Winterkorn, recognised that his company had “broken the trust of our customers and the public”. (Russell Hotten, Business reporter, BBC News)
Rebuilding Trust, Dealing With Egos & Building Desired Business Culture
It seems that for those high up the VW leadership, Ego rated as high as unethical practices they shared around.
Dealing with egos is a significant component of the Bridgeworks process.
As Stephen Covey’s says in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “First seek to understand, before being understood”. My insurance client had the insight to recognise the long-term investment, and return for customers, of developing their leaders and thus a robust culture. That means results for their clients, their business and staff engagement.
Is Your Business Culture In Order?
Has your organisation identified the culture it desires to lead the business and its people into the future?
More importantly, is the business using this cultural foundation to keep itself accountable to this critical roadmap?
And is this culture evident in the attitudes, behaviours and ethics of its leaders?
Bridgeworks is passionate about building the right culture that maximises value to clients. If you are wanting to more effectively bring to life your culture to bring your best to clients, TALK TO US.
Wayne Dyson, Bridgeworks 0402 300 999.