Korn Ferry Study: CEOs Carry the Culture at Australian Organizations
Sydney, March 22, 2016 - Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, cultural leadership starts at the top. Business executives in Australia cited the CEO as the most important factor in strengthening culture, followed by rewarding or penalizing work or behavior that impacts cultural values and, recruiting executives with the right cultural attributes.
Korn Ferry’s report, “The Tone from the Top - taking responsibility for corporate culture”, presents a series of in-depth interviews with CEOs and non-executive directors from some of Australia’s most respected organizations. They were asked to identify who has responsibility for culture, the role of the board, and how culture and strategy can align. The report shares their insights into what strengthens and derails culture.
Korn Ferry’s Executive Chairman, Australasia, Katie Lahey said: “It is clear from our discussions that the CEO is regarded as the most powerful driver of culture and that the appointment of the CEO should include a deep interrogation of cultural values of potential CEOs by the board.
“If organizations accept, as many do, that the cultural leader is the CEO, it is imperative to recognize that the CEO, after setting the tone, then lives it.”
The report explored the relationship between strategy and culture and how fault lines can form in organizations that allow toxic sub cultures to flourish.
“When culture is dramatically breached, the fall-out can be costly to the brand, the bottom line, the social license to operate – and the long-term health of the organization. Leaders should not wait for a public breach of culture to identify and act on issues. Cultural work needs to be part of the day-to-day way an organization and its people operate,” said Ms Lahey.
“Business leaders need to move from thinking about their organization’s success solely in terms of their financial performance to thinking 'culturally' about organizations and all the elements that contribute to performance,” she added.
Note to editors
Korn Ferry conducted interviews with: Vivek Bhatia, CEO & MD of iCare; Paul Brasher, Chairman Incitec Pivot Ltd; Elizabeth Bryan, Chairman of Virgin Australia; Melinda Conrad, NED of Ozforex & Reject Shop; David Crawford, Chairman of Lend Lease, South 32 and Australia Pacific Airports Corporation; Tom Gorman, CEO Brambles; Brian Hartzer, CEO of Westpac; Christine Holgate, CEO & MD of blackmores; Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO of Jetstar; Greg Medcraft, Chairman of ASIC; John O’Neill, Chairman of The Star Entertainment Group; Andrew Pridham, CEO of Moelis and Chairman Sydney Swans; Simon Rothery, CEO of Goldman Sacs, ANZ. The interviews occurred between September and November 2015.
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