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The Board Role In Ethics And Compliance

For compliance programs, "tone at the top" is a frequently used (but little examined) term.  Just how does a board of directors determine and establish a practical system of ethics that will reach throughout the corporate structure?  What elements are needed?  How can the board gauge the effectiveness of its efforts?  What approaches work best-and which lead to failure?

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Topics: Ethics & Compliance, Culture, Leadership, Corporate Culture, Values, Tone At The Top

Amazon-Gate: The New Normal And Lessons For Leaders

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Topics: Culture, Corporate Culture

Marshall McLuhan was Never More Right: Why How We Communicate Matters More than Our Message

If you ever had any doubt about how the medium really IS the message, I would like you to take this simple test. Think about the last time you had to say something difficult to someone: you’re fired, I don’t love you anymore, you have disappointed me. How much time did you think about the words? And how much time did you consider the timing and the means by which you would tell them – in person, by email, a note left on the counter? And where, when?

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Topics: Communication, HOW, Corporate Culture

Exposing Your Corporate Character

Last week the New York Times contained three separate stories, all in a single section (Business Day), that in some way or another, dealt specifically with the importance of alignment between your corporate character and your public capital, i.e. your reputation.

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Topics: Culture, Leadership, Corporate Culture, Corporate Character

A Study in Freedom: The Resiliency of Toyota’s Supply Chain

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Topics: Corporate Culture

Building Bridges: Leveraging a Strong Safety Culture to Improve Your Corporate Culture

Corporate cultures need to progress from motivation by individual self-interest to inspiration for the greater good, from checks and balances to trust, and from rules-based behavior to being guided by what is right—just like strong safety cultures have already done.

Read more at: Corporate Compliance Insights

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Topics: Corporate Culture

10 Thoughts on How Strong Safety Cultures Can Improve Corporate Culture

I’ve long been of the mind that companies with a strong safety culture can use it as a learning bridge to improve their corporate culture. Here are 10 of my thoughts:

  1. Safety culture is about trust, transparency, self-governance; corporate cultures should be the same–no tolerance for poor behavior!
  2. Both safety and corporate cultures are collective with everyone responsible for each other, whether you supervise or even know them.
  3. Safety culture demands speaking up–acting when you see something unsafe. Poor behavior demands the same; respect is an entitlement.
  4. A trusting/transparent/self-governing corporate culture–like safety–must be an everyday occurrence; not a periodic event or a goal.
  5. Just as we’re entitled to be safe at work, we’re also entitled to be respected, valued, and have means to contribute; that’s culture.
  6. If safety culture workers can refuse to perform an unsafe activity, then employees never need tolerate an unhealthy workplace culture.
  7. Lock-out/tag-out mandates a transparent, mutually-dependent, truthful, and self-governing culture; corporate culture requires no less.
  8. Safety cultures proudly brag–“257 days w/o injury!” Corporate cultures should also celebrate–“90% of us report feeling super-engaged”).
  9. Safety cultures immediately publish incidents–to learn; corporate cultures should encourage learning and growth by doing the same.
  10. Injury, near-miss, or a bad trend merits a stand-down in a safety culture; a toxic corporate culture compels a stand-down led by the CEO. 

 

Learn more about your corporate culture and LRN’s HOW Report findings at LRN.com/HOWmetrics

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Topics: Corporate Culture

LIBOR: Why the U.K. Must Rethink Corporate Culture

In the wake of the UK LIBOR scandal, an LRN team collaborated to very quickly draft a set of comments to the HM Treasury’s Banking Reform Bill Team on a series of proposals for implementing the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking in the UK.  Those proposals were set forth in a White Paper entitled "Banking Reform: Delivering Stability and Supporting a Sustainable Economy."  The comment period ended on September 6th.  Here is a summary:

LRN’s believes that the U.K. Government has the opportunity to incorporate into the banking reform proposals suitable provisions related to organizational culture.  Quite clearly, the financial crisis came about through the complex interaction of multiple factors at the institutional and systemic levels, including factors related to banking regulation, governance, risk management, competition, and others.  We believe that there has been insufficient discussion and analysis of the critical role of organizational culture in the crisis.  More particularly, we believe the Government’s reform proposals should properly reflect the influence of organizational culture on behaviors, attitudes to risk, individual and collective decision making, and the ethical culture generally within financial institutions and the banking industry as a whole.  Regulatory intervention is a necessary, but insufficient response to this crisis.  We respectfully submit that goals of the proposed reforms should include promoting much greater self-governance in the banking sector.
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Topics: Corporate Culture

Unintended Hierarchy

Hierarchy: “1. any system of persons or things ranked one above another; 2.the power or dominion of a hierarchy.”

Hierarchy is an easily identifiable structure in most organizations, particularly as most organizations explicitly define the levels of management with titles, segments of control, and responsibilities/accountabilities. In fact, most organizations view hierarchy as a necessary and fundamental means for operating business effectively.

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Topics: Corporate Culture

Want to Build Ethical Culture? Play Up the Middle

Most Ethics and Compliance (E&C) leaders now cite “building ethical culture” as a major goal of their strategy for program development, and with good reason. Based on data from several National Business Ethics Surveys, the Ethics Resource Center concludes that “ethics risk is most effectively reduced by an enterprise-wide cultural approach to ethics that extends beyond a compliance mentality.” Culture is the game CECOs are looking to play.

Mitigating risk is not the only benefit of a culture strategy. LRN’sHOW Report--a validated, cross-industry survey of over 36,000 employees in 18 countries--found that culture impacts performance, and that it can be measured. According to the global study, organizations with self-governing cultures outperform those with cultures characterized by either blind obedience (strict command-and-control) or informed acquiescence (rules-based, carrot-and-stick). High trust levels, a values-based approach to business, and an authentic commitment to a purpose-inspired mission are the key enablers of high performance for self-governing organizations.

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Topics: Corporate Culture