Today’s blog post was written by Ralf Holloman, our Director of Corporate Compliance. He’d like to share some ideas about self-governance with you. ~Kathy
In this time of hyperconnectivity and expected transparency, organizations in every sector are challenged to communicate convincingly on their contributions to society. Whether the value added is shareholder dividends or social change for their stakeholders, Dov Seidman, author of “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything”, makes a convincing argument for why culture and core values ultimately determine an organization’s success.
Success here means the lasting positive impact. Mr. Seidman refers us to “principled performance,” as the difference between those that make good decisions and those that make bad. Much attention has been paid to the influence of tone from the top in steering organizations on the right path. This is certainly justified with respect to the example set by walking the talk. However, not as much attention has been given to how members of the workforce affect organizational behavior. In my profession as a compliance officer, we talk about ‘programs’. Certainly compliance programs are important given government rules and industry established best practices. I believe too much is expected of programs and not enough of individual responsibility in setting an acceptable course.
At work, the true power of governance comes from a peer-ship environment that sets the right expectations based on shared values. Aside from programs, organizations might best be served by paying more attention to:
- Setting a readily understood set of values that overcome selfish motives.
- Giving these values a voice by demonstrating their real-life expressions.
- Rewarding those who demonstrate values in action.
- Holding the entire organization, board members to front line staff, accountable for living values.
- Sharing on a regular basis, let’s say whenever company performance is openly reviewed with the workforce, how principle performance is maintained.
A sustainable approach to values-based performance management means a well-grounded combination of values sharing, thoughtful program design, and most importantly capturing people’s attention on the level of their hearts and minds. Businesses of all varieties must pay attention to more than the front facing exposure of their organization.