Cultivating a culture to do the right thing

August 8, 2018 9:43 am

Most people want to do the right thing but does your culture really support your employees to behave in line with your values? How about when there are conflicting priorities, time is short and you don’t have all the information needed or conversely you have so much data you can’t sort the critical from the superfluous?

Competing priorities are a reality of doing business. Negotiating the needs of diverse stakeholders – including customers, shareholders and regulators – is something we ask employees to do every day. Moreover, we ask that they achieve business results, apply policies and treat everyone fairly in often ambiguous and complex circumstances.

This dynamic environment, coupled with higher standards of accountability and intensified customer demands, requires leaders to assess the strength of their company culture to support people to do the right thing every time.

This is not just about ensuring people know the values — few people set out to do the wrong thing.

You need to cultivate a healthy culture that makes it easier for people to live the company values, such as putting up their hand when something seems wrong, asking for help when priorities seem to compete or when dealing with the tensions of simultaneously meeting the needs of customers, shareholders and employees.

Directors and Executives need to ask:

  • How do we measure what our company culture really reinforces?
  • How do we ensure our leaders make it easy for their team members to do the right thing every time?
  • How do we know what gets in the way of employees enacting our code of conduct and espoused values within the context of the necessary pressure to achieve KPIs and business results?

Shifting the focus from knowledge and motivation (do people know and care about what is right?) to cultivating a work environment that encourages people to do the right thing helps to mitigate the risk of things going wrong. A healthy culture also makes it easier and quicker to detect when something is not right so you can fix it before things go awry.

For information about our new leader-led culture change program, ACUITY™ which is designed specifically for the Banking and Financial Services industry contact us at


Photo credit Emily Morter Unslash; Rawpixel Unsplash

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