‘Purpose’ and ‘culture’ featured heavily in the presentations and discussions at the recent Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Australian Governance Summit in Sydney and particularly in relation to the topic of high performing boards. Purpose and culture need to be in alignment. When purpose is clear, and the way people behave in the organisation is aligned, then you are well on the way to having an engaged workforce with a high performance culture.
Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre of Social Impact, noted that ‘What makes good board performance is identifying clarity of purpose and who are the beneficiaries’. She went on to say that ‘It is important to look beyond profit margins… and identify how the organisation is meeting its purpose and how it is measured’. Elana Rubin also noted that ‘this is where culture comes in. Boards set the tone for how management will come to the board’.
This is about doing what you say you will do as a board and making sure that what you do and how you make decisions as a board is linked to the purpose and values of the organisation. It is the role of the board to provide ongoing and effective cultural stewardship. This applies whether you are a not-for-profit or a commercial entity.
‘Culture should be defined as the human element – mindsets and actions – that shapes why people do what they do and how they do it’
– Steve Vamos, CEO, Xero
One of the biggest challenges of the board is knowing how the organisation is meeting its purpose and how this is reflected in the culture of the organisation… how do you know what you don’t know? While much has been written about the formal measurement of culture in organisations, it’s not always easy to do. In my next article I will talk about some of the ways to measure culture in organisations.
How do you measure culture in your organisation?