A Fish Rots From the Head:: a commentary on Corporate culture
Thursday, 8 March, 2012 2 Comments
Is it any wonder that, when you glimpse “behind the curtain” of many institutions, trust is at an all time low!? It also explains why TRANSPARENCY is viewed as a threat rather than as an opportunity.
We know bankers are easy targets but they are not alone. What about their poor relations in the good old insurance industry? Despite the usual TALK about professionalism and the need for change the stench of insincerity serves as a warning that extends far beyond the reaches of enormous marketing budgets and relentless sales campaigns!!!
I am sure that readers will be readily able to attribute some of the characteristics to organisations past and, more worryingly, present. I can think of some individuals and firms within the insurance about whom this could have been written…but there is no need to name names, is there?
What I want to hear about are the insurance leaders with a burning desire to be the best that they can be for ALL of their stakeholders and aren’t afraid to demonstrate belief in their core values. If this is you, or if you know of someone about who this could be said, I would delight in creating the Operational Structure to deliver far greater, sustainable, returns than will be achieved by an army of soulless salespeople.
Recently, a well-respected Chairman and CEO in the financial services industry shared an old saying with me. He said, “A fish rots from the head.” We were speaking about organizational culture at the time and the point he was making is that an organization’s culture originates from the top of the company. Of course, his statement is true, but that’s only a part of the culture puzzle.
The executive leader’s personality, traits and beliefs collectively form a signature that is stamped into the organization’s social fabric. An egalitarian leader is more likely to spawn a culture of equals that is characterized by attributes like: teamwork, innovation, open and transparent communication. Conversely, a command and control top executive that fulfills the role as a dictatorship is more likely to produce a structure of silos and fiefdoms with a corporate culture that is characterized by closed doors, secrecy and fear.
The core values of the leader form and shape the organization, and the stronger the leader’s personality – the stronger the impact.