Tag Archives: "organisational culture"

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Leaders must step up to avoid excessive risk taking in financial institutions

Aug 23rd

Bank reforms will not stop banks from taking excessive risks in the future according to an academic report by Professor Simon Ashby (i), released today.  He says that, without a cultural change, excessive risk appetite will continue.

Twenty senior risk professionals from the banking industry took part in the study.  They placed much less emphasis than external experts (who have predominantly reported before)  on economic and market factors, such as low interest rates or the growth in securitisation, and much more on human and social aspects of the crisis within the institutions and the regulatory machinery. Instead, they saw inappropriate risk



The real value of customer service

Aug 08th

We’ve all heard and experienced a lot of claptrap about customer service. Which company doesn’t put their customer first? Or rather which company really does? Of course there is good theory (e.g. ‘the Customer value chain’ showing that higher customer service leads to higher profits₁)

I’ve been working recently with two companies which really do go that extra mile and see customer service as major competitive advantage. They’re both in very different markets – one high end luxury consumer brand, the other a commodity supplier, essentially business-to-business. Both are in ‘challenger’ market positions, with some much bigger and more powerful brands



4 steps from blame to learning

May 18th

A strong learning culture is increasingly important to all organisations. If something changes, (think iPad) or something goes wrong (think BP), adapting is what helps organisations survive.

So how do you turn mistakes or ideas into real organisational learning?

Understand your current culture: Leaders may think they are encouraging learning, but get a group of individuals in a room, from different levels, and ask them how it really is. Good questions might be: “What do you do if you have a good idea?”, “What stops you reporting things that go wrong?” “What usually happens when you suggest something to your manager?”
Communicate with



Virginia Merritt on SimplyTV

May 06th

A video round-up of the latest information, views and news from the world of internal Communications, from Simply TV.

The May edition features our very own Virginia Merritt interviewed on our recent work with a highly-publicised global safety campaign.  Just click here to view (and select the slide index tab to jump straight to Virginia’s interview).

This video also features:

Aldo Liguori, Communications Advisor to Sony Ericsson, discussing crisis communication in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Japan;
VMA Group’s Charlotte Butler in an exclusive interview on industry trends found in the recruiting firm’s soon-to-be-published 2011 Professional Development in Internal Communication survey; and
Chicago-based consultant and seminar leader, Jim



Keeping things simple

Apr 22nd

I’m renewing my campaign on keeping things simple.  It’s long been one of our hallmarks as consultants to help our clients make complex things simple.  Perhaps it’s in the nature of management to proliferate frameworks and systems and measurement.  It sometimes takes an outside view to help organisations back to the essence.

Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College London, wrote recently in The Sunday Times of the perverse consequences of performance management systems.  They’re meant to systematise how things are done and to encourage the less good performers to do better.  Instead, with their complex rules and targets and



Don’t be limited by what you’re good at

Feb 23rd

My colleague Rupert wrote last week about challenging constructs.

I’ve been working recently with some companies that are by any reckoning very successful.   They’re highly profitable, well led and well managed. They’ve developed strong business ‘formulas’ in their different markets and are disciplined in sticking to what they know works.  They have stripped costs out, made their supply chains highly efficient, and honed a way of growing their existing businesses.   In short they’re doing all the right things and delivering the results. 

So what’s the problem?

It’s this.   The very discipline of their approach is an inhibition to thinking more broadly about their



Making safety a priority

Oct 08th

This week leaders in organisations that claim to make safety their priority have probably had a sustained aha moment.

On Wednesday I attended a leadership forum, alog with about 100 senior safety leaders, organised by AKT productions. It put the spotlight firmly on leaders by getting them to ‘Think Again’ through an engaging dramatisation of BP’s Texas City and Deepwater Horizon tragedies.

On Thursday there was a full page feature in the Financial Times under the hard hitting headline: ‘A sea change needed’. It was evaluating the last chance BP’s new CEO, Bob Dudley, has to transform the organisation’s culture to



How to demand less and get more

Oct 05th

I recently read an article about how Sony Pictures gets more out of people by demanding less. I was intrigued to find out that burnout and employee disengagement were the major contributors, and that helping them manage their energy not their time turned this around. A shift in the way leaders manage employees, viewing them as human beings not computers, and investing time in meeting their core needs helped people feel more energised and inspired to be able to cope with personal and corporate demands. Interestingly the single biggest derailer is not having full sponsorship and engagement from the leadership