My previous article, “IT Governance -5 Myths to break this New Year” did indicate that the single most reason that Governance initiatives fail is to underestimate the culture of the organization embarking on IT Governance. Cobit 5.0 talks about 7 enablers , out of which “Culture, Ethics and Behavior” is an important aspect that I would like to touch upon in this article.
Why is culture important?
The adoptability of change is determined by the culture of the organization. This could include the enterprise risk appetite, organizational appetite to change enablement, history and legacy of the organization, deep rooted values and principles governing the business and so on. With many organizations having global presence, one size does not fit all and initiatives have to be tailored made to suit to the culture to gain acceptance and facilitate institutionalization. The Culture has a bearing on the communication methodologies to be adopted (Vocal/Non Vocal), leadership styles preferred and above all understanding what appeals to the task force to get things done. When I do Management of Organizational Change (MoC) programs, I spend considerable time and effort to understand the culture of the organization, their previous success on enabling change, organization structure and leadership styles to design a facilitated approach for enabling change.
How does Ethics and Values contribute?
The ethical behavior cascades from the CIO or Executive board of the organization to the people. Employees are following closely as to how the senior management addresses unethical behavior while conducting business with customers/partners and fellow employees.
Serious actions against identified undesirable behavior and immediate communication to the task force sends a strong message. Be vigilant and on-guard, else be ready to meet dire consequences.
Many organizations have mandatory trainings and refresher courses on “Ethics and Compliance” every year to reinforce the standard of business conduct and enable people to conduct business in fair and ethical manner. The CEO and the leadership team must walk the talk and implement the values of the organization in all dealings. The spirit of upholding the Organizational values must be acknowledged and rewarded among employees to set the precedence to take pride and follow in day-to day practice. In addition, there has to be an Ethical and Compliance Team that could provide assistance for employees and people to solicit advise anonymously and take decisions appropriately. These aspects will strengthen the code of discipline and institutionalize value system throughout the organization culture.
How do you inculcate desirable behaviour?
Behaviour of the people is driven by 4 essential parameters. a) Policy b) Process c) Values d) Objectives. These have to be linked together and feedback solicited to promote desirable behavior. If there is a report of non-adherence, it is important to identify the true reason and rational behind not following. Then work on a consensus to make amendments for people to adopt and follow without inhibitions.
A good starting point would be to have a mandatory training on “Professionalism and Etiquette of Corporate life” for all employees/partners joining the organization to illustrate desired behavior. A handy handbook at the Local Intranet site would serve as ready reckoner. In order to demonstrate consistent behaviors, it has to become a habit and that means providing a platform for employees with the right attitude. Remember, you can train people and get them the required skills and competencies, but attitude has to come from within. Understanding this essential element, Organizations hiring process should lay emphasis on Attitude a degree more than aptitude to recruit the right resources with positive attitude and reliance on team work.
So you need to take control of ABC (Attitude, Behaviour, Culture) to make your Governance Initiatives successful.
What has been your take an Culture, Ethics and Behaviour in the context of IT Governance?