Non-Executive Culture Foundations

Non-Executive Directors have a unique role: they provide the objective view, the check- and-challenge. 

They belong to the organisation, but not to its daily routines, they’re connected yet able to look from the outside.

The role of Non-Execs was much-discussed at the FRC’s conference ‘Culture to Capital’. We particularly loved this insight from Justin King, ex CEO of Sainsbury’s (now Vice Chairman and Head of Portfolio Business at Terra Firma) about his all-time favourite non-Exec Director, 

“The best non-exec I have ever had was Anna Ford. She spent loads of time in the [Sainsbury’s] stores, she went to suppliers, she went to depots… as you would expect of an investigative journalist. She immersed herself in the business and absolutely was part of that sense of belonging.” 

Anna Ford clearly took her skills as an investigative journalist into her new role with enthusiasm. 

But for many Non-Execs this is unfamiliar territory. Culture, with its apparent intangibility, is well outside the comfort zone.

Our one day foundation is devised to support Non-Execs in competence and confidence in:

  • How culture can help or harm a business, learn from practical examples
  • How to begin the conversation on the board’s role in leading culture
  • How to challenge the board on developing a culture with appropriate behaviour and decision-making for long-term sustainability of capital. 
  • How to explore culture and agree a method to make it more tangible in your organisation 
  • How to pin down the characteristics of culture and see what is helping or harming the business

This is a foundation day, beginning the basics for Non-Execs to go back and work with their Boards, a basis from which to develop the reference points and a common language, so that time spent in discussion is fruitful and the right issues are addressed effectively.

Guidebook and support material includes:

  • References to relevant research and case studies 
  • Useful prompt questions to identify symptoms and the impact of culture on performance 
  • Digest of the FRC’s recent report ‘Corporate Culture and the Role of Boards’ and contributing reports from its Culture Coalition
  • Individual follow-up support, one-to-one session on specific issues and how to approach them

“Most companies measure individual performance against objectives. In future more companies will measure individual behaviour against a standard.” - John Stewart, former Chairman Legal & General