Culture eats strategy for breakfast… eh?

In its recent corporate governance report 2017, Grant Thornton draws the attention of companies, boards and governments to what it calls ‘corporate culture’.

The Infosys saga got murkier recently. But what has fazed me is not just the battle lines drawn between the board and the founders, but the blurred lines between journalism and partisan rhetoricism and social media diatribe. Emotions seem to be running high on all sides, and from most accounts, it no longer pays to remain a dispas­sionate business journalist who belts out fact-laced reportage.
 
We at CFO India, meanwhile, try to look at another and totally relevant aspect of corporate governance to understand what is actu­ally wrong or lacking in our efforts to establish the bedrock of good governance in our companies. 
 
In its recent corporate governance report 2017, Grant Thornton draws the attention of companies, boards and governments to what it calls ‘corporate culture’. To sum up, the report based on the survey of 2,500 business leaders across the world, emphasises that corporate governance must move beyond compliance to become an embedded attitude (culture) in companies. And what is this culture you may ask? There are several definitions articulated by our business gurus. But the sum of all revolves around values, attitudes and behaviours of a company in all its conducts. 
 
So, is corporate governance a culture thing? Who will be responsi­ble for instituting such a corporate culture and who will be the custo­dian of it? We try to figure it out in the light of the Lok Sabha passing The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017, and the recommendations of Sebi in its recent guidelines on board evaluation, that boards must set a corporate culture and values to be followed by the company.  
 
As we chew on this cud, one thought flashes past; our guru Peter Drucker was certainly a visionary. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner,” he had said. Seems his words are coming true as we watch with horror iconic businesses turning into Frankenstein’s monster and the doy­ens of Indian corporate governance almost coming undone. 
 
Meanwhile, the stage has been set for our upcoming Eighth Annual CFO Leadership Conclave at Udaipur from September 15–17, where we plan to serve this and many other scintillating items on your plate. 
 
Lights, camera, action… Udaipur here we come!
 

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