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Governance is not really about rules

Last year in the UK, 400 million GBP of fines and sanctions were issued to organisations as a result of corporate governance failings.

Whilst on the surface, the reasons for these failings are regulatory and linked to corporate governance codes, if you dig a bit deeper, The real reasons behind these failures are due to human behaviour.

The principal method used to ensure compliance is normally the implementation of policies, procedures and controls. Essentially, internal rules are designed and put in place to try and mitigate the risk. What is clear, however, is that if you really want to address governance failings in organisations, rules are simply not enough.

Rules, frameworks, committees and the governance structures that are actioned inside organisations simply don’t ‘cut the mustard’. What really needs to happen is a cultural shift towards the adoption of a values-based approach, which at a foundational level addresses the reasons behind the decisions we make and the behaviours we adopt.

This takes courageous leadership. This requires the acknowledgment that organisations are really just a ‘bunch of human beings’ gathered together around a central purpose. Once we have both the foresight and the insight to realise this, we can then begin the hard work of bringing people together, of creating a culture of psychological safety and moving towards good governance.

This is our work.

This is our focus.

This is simply what we do.

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