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If your business culture is not aligned then quite frankly all you have are meaningless pieces of paper
There’s no escaping it, every corporate, every business, every ‘one man band’ has a culture; the only question is what type of culture it is. Like it or not, your business culture has been built up over time from every action and interaction and unless the guiding hand of leadership has played its part, your culture may be far removed from the idea which you envisaged.
Your business strategy, your vision and values, may say one thing but if your culture is not aligned then quite frankly all you have are meaningless pieces of paper. In a recent speech, FRC Chairman Sir Winfried Bischoff highlighted the importance of organisational culture and in particular the way in which public expectations of business culture have changed since the financial crisis.
Commenting that “Society wants company behaviour to improve, and culture to change”, Sir Winfried highlighted the work which the FRC is undertaking with a view to promoting good corporate culture. This includes an ongoing review “to assess how effective boards are at establishing company culture and practices, and embedding good corporate behaviour, and to consider whether there is a need for promoting best practice.” Sir Winfred also highlighted the importance of leadership in creating and promoting good culture as well as the role which auditors can now play in identifying, promoting and reporting on corporate culture.
Whose culture is it anyway? At the end of the day a business culture will extend far beyond the immediate entity; affecting customers, shareholders, investors, suppliers and others. Business leaders therefore cannot ignore the importance of culture, both when devising business strategy and when reviewing the business on an ongoing basis. As Sir Winfred says “if a business get its culture right then many good things follow, financially as well as reputationally.”