Governance. Misunderstood. Misplaced. Missed altogether. Too often, this word is attributed to organisations. Corporates are obligated to comply with codes and frameworks. We have lost the humanity that is needed for 'good governance'.
If we are to better 'steer' our organisations,
If we are to encourage more ethical decision-making,
If we are to nurture wider community engagement, and
If we are to move towards better governance,
We have to realise, the power lies not in our organisations, but
The values that often adorn corporate office walls and website pages talk of,
Agility...[I could go on].
There is an inherent flaw here that is not spoken about often enough.
Organisations cannot and do not have values.
People have values.
People have integrity
So, if we want to move ourselves and our organisations towards better governance,
We have to first look at ourselves.
Our leadership, and
We have to do the hard work of inward reflection.
We have to open ourselves up to be more compassionate.
Perhaps, this is why, although I am a proponent of Corporate Governance Codes, I also struggle with the direction in which they have travelled since 1992.
They systematise governance.
They codify behaviour.
They have become, what is sadly, just another regulatory obligation.
The work I'm focused on, is moving to shift governance towards a more humanity based framework. Where the emphasis is not on the corporate, but on the people.
Organisations do not breach regulation,
Organisations do not commit financial crime,
Organisations do not make unethical decisions, and
Organisations do not treat customers unfairly.
People do these things.
Not always intentionally, of course.
Self governance is perhaps,
"The ability and skill of being able to consider carefully, sometimes swiftly, the situation and information that befalls us, and to respond with wisdom and compassion."
If we want to feel confident that our organisations are governing and steering themselves well, we need to spend much more time doing the hard work with our staff, with our people and with ourselves.