Success life: How boardroom shapes corporate culture

Thinking becomes the true essence of every boardroom, even though some companies do not encourage critical and constructive thinking.

THE boardroom is the engine room where corporate cultures are built or killed.

Perspectives, ideas and submissions made in the boardroom have a bigger say on the brand image, quality, equity and ultimately brand reputation.

Thinking becomes the true essence of every boardroom, even though some companies do not encourage critical and constructive thinking.

Leadership agility

The leader becomes the centre of cultural growth in an organisation as they act or demonstrate the style and atmosphere of the corporate culture.

American author and speaker John C Maxwell once said: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

The leader shows the way and acts the way that the organisation should follow.

Leadership is about the influence and motivation or drive to exploit individual latent abilities, improve one’s surroundings, fulfil obligations, purpose and the passion to help other people live their best lives. It is being active and impactful on the forefront of development.

This development could be individually, intellectually, ideologically and institutionally realised, and it may transcend the lifespan of that leader.

True leadership offers hope, help, insight, foresight and intuition through pioneering, modelling, mentoring, modifying, monitoring, motivating, mind development and influencing.

So, the leader becomes an important cog in the bigger schemes of the company’s structure and systems. Without a good leader, the company will be caught flat-footed.

Strategic communication

The boardroom language determines the mood in meetings. It should be strategic, encouraging and inspiring.

The goal must be clear and known. When the language is vague, it keeps workers unsure of what they must do.

Language defines and clarifies vision and mission. It builds the whole corporate culture. Language speaks to efficiency, effectiveness, speed, agility and more. Language contributes to how workers communicate with each other and their customers.

 Talent density

Great leaders are measured by their ability to intentionally discover, passionately develop and synergistically delegate talent.

The greater the talent, the better the performance, productivity and profitability. Great boards respect and appreciate different talents. A board should understand that different talents build a formidable corporate culture.

Talents contribute towards the overall quality of ideas and general performance which leads to a particular corporate culture.

Individual talents contribute to the success of every culture. When the company encourages the use of talents, it increases innovation and creativity.

Remove your titles

As a leader (or boss as some love to call it), remove all titles you have so that employees can give you candid and constructive feedback. When other teammates are afraid to give you feedback, you become an enemy of growth.

Create an environment that gives you candid or painful, yet important and constructive feedback. Some leaders lead by instilling fear and their boardrooms are flooded only with their thoughts and ideas.

Since they have positional power and authority, they assume that only their voice matters. Titles stifle feedback.

They increase hierarchical gaps, especially between the leader and the employee. Worse still, weak leaders are constantly reminding the employee who the leader is.

 The feedback loop

Feedback in the boardroom is the lifeblood of the organisation. Feedback helps the company improve performance, learn faster and increase ideas.

When feedback is thwarted, it means some voices or ideas have been suppressed. Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer (2020) in their book, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention say that every organisation should “Put feedback as the first and the last item on the agenda so that it’s set apart from operations discussions.”

They further point out that leaders should not just ask for feedback but emphasise that it is expected from their employees. They bolstered this by providing an A4 model that makes the feedback loop.

This A4 quadrant states that feedback must aim to assist, be actionable and those receiving it must appreciate and/or accept or discard feedback.

As a leader, do you give candid feedback? Does a leader allow and receive candid feedback from employees? Can an employee give feedback without fearing losing their job?

Feedback must be embedded in the culture of an organisation. This is not easy, but as soon as it is part of your corporate culture, it invites and increases continuity and growth in an organisation.

The importance of boardroom culture

Boardroom culture is very important. What happens in the board cascades down to the whole organisation. Arguments and new ideas should not be shut down.

Some corporate financial issues were triggered by the board because the board is unwilling to challenge powers or leaders in an organisation. When the boardroom is healthy, the organisation becomes wealthy.

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on Twitter @jonahnyoni. WhatsApp: +263 772 581 918

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