Corporate Culture as Risk Mitigator

By Alan Rudnick

Corporate culture is a key to a productive work force and a successful company. The right corporate culture becomes a powerful risk-mitigator, and the right culture is one whose tone is set at the top – by the board and the CEO.

Corporate culture basically involves the kind of company we are and the kind we aspire to be. Although it sounds preachy to say, it is about the moral, ethical, and social environment in which a company conducts its business. The company’s culture is a key to real dollars and cents ? both for making money and for losing lots of it.

Read more about corporate culture and “tone at the top” in our recent feature in Corporate Secretary Magazine:

An Avoidable Crisis

Alan Rudnick reflects on the recent UVA board issues in University Business Magazine

The Time Has Come for all University Boards

By Jon Masters

The time has come for all university boards to take a hard look at how they are operating and what should be their role. The failings of the boards of trustees at Penn State are waving a red flag.  As the president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Anne D. Neal, is quoted in The New York Times, “This should be a clarion call to trustees across the country to ask questions, to demand answers, to insist that the president is responsible to them, not the other way around. For too long, the boards have been viewed more as boosters than as legal fiduciaries.”

What should be the board’s role?  To what extent is it different from a corporate board? Are the trustees getting the information necessary to enable them to carry out their responsibilities? How effective are their operating procedures?  Are they agreed on mission and strategy and the role of the president?  What is the proper balance between the role of the president and the role of the board? What are the areas for which board oversight is appropriate? Does the president see these things the same way?  Sensitive issues need to get on the table in a way that they can be freely discussed and a consensus developed.  That is not easy, but there are ways to do that.  The key, however, is the board’s determination to do its job.

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