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RSM on Culture

Earlier this week, RSM Australia the accounting firm presented to room full of GRC professionals on the topic of ‘The Power of Understanding Your Culture’.

This interactive session looked at:

  • Theories;

  • Australian history;

  • cognitive bias;

  • ethical framework;

  • shadow values;

  • culture plans; and

  • managing culture.

Presenters RSM Principal Jeremy Elan and Senior Consultant Danny Casey challenged attendees to take the concept of culture apart to examine how it might apply to their own organisations.

The event in brief

Elan and Casey invited attendees to examine the following topics:

  • That change management programs will have no impact if the foundation on which these programs have been built are compromised.

  • That culture is difficult to define, and is further complicated by the fact that businesses are accustomed to tackling tangible topics.

  • That culture goes to the core of day-to-day practices and impacts all areas of an organisations’ activity.

  • That, unsurprisingly, culture is influenced by many factors, traditions and socioeconomic variables.

  • That cognitive bias goes to the heart of how our brains make decisions that might not be necessarily rational, and that this type of bias tends to kick in when one is very busy.

Suggested solutions to tackle cognitive bias

  1. Try to consider the wider perspective

  2. Consider the factors brought into the decision-making

  3. Use peer review

  4. Using a detailed process of decision-making, including supporting documents.

Ethical frameworks

It is essential to pay attention to ethical frameworks because, if it is implemented correctly:

  1. It is the blueprint of the organisation.

  2. It delivers clarity and consistency across all levels.

  3. It creates a union between purpose, values and principles.

Important tips

  • Be aware of ‘shadow values’ that live behind and inside the stated values, often in direct opposition to them.

  • Create a Cultural Plan. This will go to the heart of targeting opportunities to work closely with the board to refine the cultural blueprint of the organisation.

  • Actively manage the Cultural Plan, since building a strong and positive culture is not a ‘tick and flick’ exercise.

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