Culture and Collusion – Condoning Corporate Anarchy (Part Two)

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Culture is ubiquitously defined as "the way things are done around here". Note the distinction between how things are done and official mantra, company rhetoric, policy and even, relevant instruments of law. It's what we do and allow others to do that says more about who we are and what matters than any elegant vision and values ​​statement sitting behind perspex in board rooms with marble and fresh flowers everywhere.

I would characterize organizational culture more pointedly. I would rather define culture as what we are and are not prepared to put up with. It is when we are tested that one understands the true character of both a person and an enterprise. Jan Carlsson, former CEO of the Swedish International Airline referred famously to watershed moments in customer service as "moments of truth". Organizations face "moments of truth" in the context of culture. Behavior that is committed (when it did not have to be) is one moment of truth. Bad behavior called once it's committed says something about the integrity of people who will not sit by and watch bad stuff perpetrated. But the third and very telling moment of truth is when behavior is consequenced.

At the risk of appearing to be dropping (shamelessly and sorry, without names) I was doing coffee with an AFL Football club president some time back when he politely excused himself to take a call following "Mad Monday". He was particularly interested in whether or not anything was likely to blow up in the media that could cause anguish for the Club. When assured by the senior player who'd run that him that nothing untoward happened, I heard my coffee companion ask why. The simple answer coming back was "because we knew there was no way (Coach) would wear it." If clear and reasonable boundaries of behavior are set in a healthy culture where people are committed to the team, it's vision and are protective of brand, most if not all can be relied on to do the right thing.

Having said that, many if not all of us have had a sudden rush of blood to the head and said or done something we wished we could take back. But when we do step over the line, is that behavior called? Religious dogma would suggest that if we witness and do not act, it is as if we committed the act ourselves. It is not just when we're young and at school that others drop their gaze, shift uncomfortably in their seats, laugh nervously for fear of being next; sheepishly and tacitly condoning aggressive or ridiculing behavior. It is unduly unexpected in a boardroom somewhere near us all right now.

Have you ever wondered about corrupt business practices? Do those who do never get watched by those who do not. Unlikely. How does a crooked cop, (and I believe they are in the overwhelming minority), a drug-addled athlete or a defiant trading floor sharebroker keep doing what they're doing in-crowd? At the risk of sounding naive, how shameful to think that supposedly cleanskins working in corrupt environments sit by apatetically, or gutlessly and turn a blind eye to shonky practices, intimidation of others or smear campaigns. And if fear of retaliation is the reason, how reprehensible to think that anyone might work in such a climate of fear that speaking up could result in harm to themselves or their families? Something or someone has unintentionally failed them. But potential dramatic and life threatening concludingences for speaking out are not the common condition. In many situations there will be those bystanders who unreservedly disapprove but hold anti-dobbing policy as sacrosanct as ethical business practice or clean policing.

How many of us come forward when push comes to shove? According to the magistrate who heard the case, certainly not the bus driver (who "could have done more") or other members of the drunken group of Ocean Grove footballers watching a mate torment an orthodox Jew walking down the street with his two small children ; not former Amcor executives listening to others talking about Nazis and gas chambers and how Hitler should have done a better job; not staff of the West Coast Football Club who challenged and cajoled errant players but evoked no consequences until it was too late. And why? Because Cousins ​​was a demigod and only mere mortals have substance use problems.

And what of behavior consequenced? The Amcor Board took decision action and sacked several of its executives in the wake of the price fixing allegations that emerged in 2004. Christine Nixon attempted to do that months ago when she sent powers to suspend and / or dismiss police over serious matters and still some police members accused foul and still the Police Association defended them to the death. What does someone have to do in this country before an organization can cut the tangled parachute for the sake of others? The smear campaign against Janet Mitchell, former Police Association President often married her down and ran her out of town. Ultimately the OPI will determine whether or not the infamous kit Walker affair and the defamatory emails allegedly sent by someone in the association are worthy of further scrutiny or punishment but what about the cruelties of war along the way including organic brand and public confidence? Why should thousands of other dedicated and decent sworn and unsworn staff of Victoria Police have to pay a price?

In an era where companies are obsessing (yes, right word) about how to hold on to good people, why give them the cringe factor about their employer as collateral damage? What does scandal, corruption and poor culture mean for the collective esteem of those who work in an organization where bullies, sociopaths, misogynists, bigots and narcissists rule the roost either basically or informally. What respect exists for senior managers who may not perpetrate such examples of bad behavior but effectively condone it because the incumbators are popular and charismatic, opinion leaders or money makers or well-connected to the right people and therefore become Teflon-coated?

It is imperative in a civilized democracy country like ours that there are laws and regulations that obstructive impassioned managers wishing to jump the gun on process and punishment or exit staff without the punishment fitting the crime or worse still, where no 'crime' was committed. Thus the means to uphold the principles of natural justice must be fundamental to any workplace relations rule. The system must make it difficult to do the wrong thing but if we are going to jealously guard good culture, it must not be nearly impossible to do the right thing. Undoubtedly many organizations make brave decisions every day about what they will or will not put up with. The context in which they operate must support that and where an employee can always cite custom and practice as a reason why things should not change, ethical management will draw a new line in the sand, ensure everyone can see it and demand that everyone respect it or expect to face the consequences. A Spanish proverb notes that every cask smells of the wine it contains. We will inevitably be judged by the company we keep and what we condone and reward in the people that work in our companies.

© Leanne Faraday-Brash

Complete Assistance in the preparation for the implementation of the SMR/CR can be obtained from us at Complaince Consultant Where we have experience in the banking sector from 2015/2016.

Source by Leanne Faraday Brash

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