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A Practical Guide To Assessing, Shaping and Embedding Corporate Culture

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The City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company are publishing a guide following the newly publish Report on Corporate Culture and the Role of Boards by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The guide is entitled Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture.

Drawing upon practical experience, research and consultations with senior chairmen and both executive and non-executive board members the guide helps boards to determine how boards might approach the key questions like:

  • What do we have to do to address this issue?
  • How do we go about it?
  • What does good look like?

Boards are the ultimate custodians of an organisation’s purpose, values and culture. Their role is to ensure the organisation is delivering its purpose and that the purpose, values, strategic goals and capability, including culture are aligned. Boards also need to assure themselves that the culture of the board is the desired culture and that appropriate action is taken to maintain the desired culture throughout the organisation. The guide:

  • Highlights the difference between the role of the board and the role of the executive team in leading
    and managing culture
  • Sets out an agenda of 24 questions that boards might ask of themselves and of their executive
  • Offers a ‘roadmap’ to help boards assess how mature their approach is to governing culture
  • includes case studies, quotations and ‘top tips’ from leaders .

Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, in a foreword to the guide writes:

“Every organisation will have its own approach to this important topic and appropriately it is not the purpose of this guide to be prescriptive as to outcomes. It does however offer a practical agenda and roadmap to help boards to assess where their organisation stands in relation to their accountability for culture, to evaluate areas for priority action and periodically to assess progress.”

In his introduction to the guide Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems, comments:

Culture should have no geographic boundaries or be subject to management interpretation.

“The definition of doing the right thing should never change at a border crossing or adjusted at an executive meeting. Culture should be the bedrock on which good business delivers great performance. This guide is intended to help in identifying why culture matters, who drives the agenda, what good look s like and how it is delivered.”

Commenting on the guide, Richard Sermon, Chairman of the City Values Forum said:

“Especially in times of uncertainty business strategies will be buffeted by economic and political pressures and societal changes. A healthy culture which is aligned to purpose and defined values will serve to enhance the organisation’s relationship with its stakeholders and can act as an anchor, enabling the emergence of more agile strategies while keeping the organisation pointed towards its purpose and living its values.”

Mark Goyder, Founder and Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company, commented:

“For too long the high priests of shareholder value have told us that we must worship at the altar of financial analysis. Now, at last, after Enron, LIBOR, Volkswagen and others , boards and investors alike recognise that what most threatens shareholder value is to neglect the purpose, values, relationships and the human side of a business. The question is what to do about it?

The answers are to be found in this very practical guide and its tool- kits.”

Background

While boards recognise the importance of culture, many still find it an intangible and difficult topic to address in terms of assessment, accountability and assurance. To help address this issue the FRC brought together the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the City Values Forum (CVF), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) to form a Culture Coalition to highlight good practice and promote the importance of a healthy corporate culture. Their outputs are designed to make it easier for boards to get to grips with culture and properly to fulfil their duties of accountability and assurance.

Building on their earlier work on Governing Values (2013) , the City Values Forum and Tomorrow’s Company have developed Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture, a practical guide for those boards seeking to define, assess, monitor, nurture and develop the culture of their organisation.

About the City Values Forum

The City Values Forum works to embed the principles of trust and integrity in the financial and business services communities and the corporate sector and to improve cultures and behaviours. Formed in 2011 to deliver the recommendations of The Lord Mayor’s Initiative ‘Restoring Trust in the City’, the Forum is constituted as an informal working grou p reporting to The Lord Mayor. The City Values Forum continues to work across a broad front with City institutions, corporate entities, regulators, professional and trade bodies, think tanks and academic institutions to strengthen standards of integrity in the City and corporate communities.

Our latest work, Governing Culture: Risk and Opportunity ? – a guide to board leadership in purpose, values and culture is the latest in an occasional series of initiatives addressing standards of corporate governance, professional competence and the development and sharing of best practice – each aimed at improving business culture and behaviour. No single initiative can remedy the failures of integrity revealed in recent years, but by acting with the support of many organisations, working throughout the financial, business services and corporate sectors, we aim to reassert the City’s long – standing reputation for fair dealing and to encourage the development of healthy business cultures and behaviours in UK corporate life.
If we succeed together we will inspire customers and clients to entrust us with their business and earn society’s endorsement of our economic role.

About Tomorrow’s Company
Tomorrow’s Company is a London – based globally focused agenda – setting not – for profit think tank whose purpose is to inspire and enable companies to be a force for good. It champions a practical agenda for better leadership, governance and investor stewardship. Tomorrow’s Company believes that adopting an approach that focuses on purpose, values, relationships and the long term is the key to enduring business success.

It promotes this approach by engaging business leaders, investors, policymakers and NGOs in a uniquely thoughtful process which sets new agendas. Tomorrow’s Company developed the concept of the business licence to operate and redefined the concept of corporate social responsibility in the 1990s. Its work on investor stewardship and capital markets stimulated the emergence of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UK’s Stewardship Code. More recently it has championed integrated reporting and a new agenda for governance and stewardship. It has significantly influenced the direction of corporate governance, including defining the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006 and influencing the King III report in South Africa.

Features

Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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Features

How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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