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The challenges of growing a company culture once the founder steps back from the lead role
A speech by FRC Chairman, Sir William Bischoff, has highlighted the important role which a strong company culture plays in creating and maintaining growth. Talking to the Quoted Companies Alliance Conference, Sir William commented that one of the attractions of investing in smaller companies is that they often have a strong culture which is driven by the founder.
As they grow, the challenge for these companies is to find a way of holding on to that strong ‘start up’ culture. Sir William believes that the solution is to instil the tenets which have served the organisation well into the cultural regime and to ensure the board lives the values which it espouses, setting the tone which will influence the future behaviour of managers and employees. However, he cautions that the board should also be very clear about any practices for which there is ‘zero tolerance’ to avoid the perception of poor leadership which can affect both consumer and investor confidence.
With this in mind the FRC plans for 2015 include undertaking an assessment of the effectiveness of companies in establishing good company culture and practices and in embedding good corporate behaviour. The assessment will conclude in the autumn and will include a consideration on whether the FRC needs to promote best practices. In the meantime, Sir William advises boards to pay particular attention to succession planning and to ensuring that those appointed to boards will bring the right mix of skills, experience and background to help the business to grow whilst maintaining the culture.