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Corporate philosopher Roger Steare publishes “The MoralDNA of Performance”

Roger Steare, known as the “corporate philosopher”, recently wrote and published a report through the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), titled “The MoralDNA of Performance”.

This report explores the space in which people work, to see how well it serves them, their customers and society itself. Roger believes that anyone who takes the time to reflect on human behaviour will observe the impact, both actual and perceived, of different styles of leadership and management on organisational performance.

Roger explains that organisations are very simply collections of people, ideally sharing a common purpose, a set of values, a thoughtful decision-making approach and a will to succeed. He goes on to note that if leadership is “getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things”, care needs to be taken by leaders and managers to espouse the ethical behaviours which inspire confidence, trust and followership.

Roger Steare presents "The MoralDNA of Performance" at CMI

Roger Steare presents “The MoralDNA of Performance” at CMI


Stronger management ethics are linked to better organisational performance

Strong ethics and high levels of organisational performance go hand in hand. Across all 11 performance indicators explored in our survey, high levels of performance were associated with higher ethical scores.

Almost a third of managers rate their organisation as mediocre or worse on ethical behaviour

Despite evidence of links between good ethics and business performance, almost a third of managers (29%) say their organisation is mediocre or plain poor when it comes to standards of ethical behaviour. This equates to nearly one million (928,000) managers across the UK.

The public sector and large organisations face the biggest challenges

Large employers face the biggest challenges when it comes to ethics: managers in big organisations are four times more likely than those in small firms to rate their organisation as poor (12% vs. 3%). Big organisations are also less than half as likely as small firms to be rated as excellent (23% vs. 59%).

When it comes to different economic sectors, it’s clear that the public sector faces the biggest challenges. Some 13% of managers in the public sector rate their organisation as poor, and only 20% give top marks for ethics, which is half as many as those in PLCs (40%).

Managers in growing organisations score higher on ethical behaviour than their colleagues in declining ones

37% of managers in growing organisations give themselves top marks for ethical behaviour, compared to 19% in declining organisations. Those in declining organisations are also much more likely to say that their organisation behaves unethically (22% vs. 6%).

Junior managers don’t share senior managers’ outlook on ethics

There are also significant differences between junior and senior managers. Senior managers have a rosier picture of current standards than those in junior roles – 48% believes their organisation has excellent ethical behaviour, compared to only 22% of junior managers, who clearly tend to believe their organisation could do a lot better.

Roger Steare speaker

“Strong management ethics and strong organisational performance go hand in hand with improved performance”

Coaching, visionary and democratic leadership delivers results

Managers in organisations with coaching, visionary and democratic leadership styles report that their organisations perform better on all performance measures than those organisations where command and control or pacesetting styles are adopted. Only 18% of managers working in a commanding and controlling environment rate the effectiveness of their organisation’s management as ‘excellent’, compared to 75% in coaching environments.

Ethics helps to engage employees

A more ethical culture is linked to higher levels of employee engagement, especially the ethic of care, where individuals think about ethical decisions primarily in terms of the impact of action on others. Managers in organisations with excellent staff satisfaction levels score 13% higher on the ethic of care. The ability to attract new staff is also linked to an 8% difference in the level of care.

Better ethics means happier customers

Managers in organisations with excellent customer satisfaction score 9% higher on the ethics of care and reason than those who admit their organisation does a poor job for customers. This may seem obvious, but it does warrant the question of why almost a third of managers (30%) say their organisation is performing either in a mediocre way or just plain poorly when it comes to customer satisfaction. If caring more means higher customer satisfaction scores, why is not everyone doing it?

Being ethical pays off when it comes to managing risk

More ethical attitudes can pay off when it comes to risk management too. Excellent risk management is associated with higher scores across each of the three ethics measured by MoralDNA, including the ethic of reason (8% higher), care (10%) and obedience (14%).

Putting it into practice

Based on the empirical research and the leader interviews conducted for this report, we recommend that organisations act to improve their ethics and support better performance with seven key areas.


Click here to read the full report, or click here to read an infographic summary.

For more information, or to book Roger Steare as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Business speaker Philip Delves Broughton: “Better to hire big fish from little ponds”

Philip Delves BroughtonWriting recently for the Financial Times, Philip Delves Broughton, author of “Life’s a Pitch” (2012), discusses recruitment strategies and how he believes that companies are getting better at spotting great character.

Philip began by looking at the selection process for the New York Giants American Football team, who wanted “clean” and upstanding players as well as wanting big, strong performers. This reason for this is because the manager wants players to lead by example, and not to sacrifice any values in return for popularity.

Philip compares this attitude to what a senior executive at a Wall Street bank told him about his company’s recruiting policies. The bank’s solution has been not to hire from lower in the ranks at the same top universities, but rather to take the best students at traditionally lower-ranked universities. Equally, when hiring laterally, it would rather a top performer at a small firm than a middling employee from a rival.

Philip explains that the “idea is that there are a few people with exceptional talents, whom everybody wants.” He goes on to say that as a result, “managers can now cast their net much wider to find the recruits with the ideal character and experience.”

Click here to read the full article.

For information on Philip’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8000

Make a perk work with Philip Delves Broughton

Business and management expert Philip Delves Broughton’s latest column in the Financial Times is an interesting read. Philip talks about work perks following French bank Crédit Agricole’s decision to dramatically reduce travel and entertainments costs which has induced employees’ rage. He claims that this reaction “reflected the diminution in status of investment bankers more generally… they are having to adapt to the reduced perks of more ordinary corporate executives.”

Philip believes that perks not only a powerful tool within a business, but are also reflective of a company’s health and their attitude to workers.

In his article, he compares the perks offered by a variety of companies; including Google and Facebook in the technology sector who use their huge budgets to create “corporate Disneylands from which employees need never venture.” Even smaller start-ups appear to compete with these giants by allowing dogs to be brought into the office and providing top quality beverages.

To discover whether these work Philip looks to Sociometric Solutions, a company whose research identifies two categories of perks: those which benefit an individual and those which encourage socialisation. Nevertheless, it seems that companies themselves need to measure effectiveness and activity as for some businesses socialising is positive yet for some too much can be detrimental to sales and thus profit.

Philip quotes Professor Robard who argues that the most important thing is not what the company offers but how these perks are perceived by employees.

His conclusion is interesting: “Perks..need to be consistent with the broader values of the company, as once you give them, they can be very hard to change.”

Click here to read the article in full

“The path to power and how to use it”: Philip Delves Broughton reveals all..

Author and business management expert Philip Delves Broughton also writes for the Financial Times and his article ‘The path to power and how to use it’ makes an interesting read. Taking into consideration the writings and research of various others, Philip explores why power has such bad connotations in the business world today and why it is that “it is not just our attitude to power that is changing. It is the nature of power itself…”

Although companies prefer to use softer terms such as ‘influence’, Philip notes that within any organisation it is clear to all who has power and who doesn’t; we still understand what it means and what it can achieve.

Philip discusses the idea of ‘power deficiency’, coined by Jean-Louis Barsoux and Cyril Bouquet, and their strategies of ‘play the game or change the game’.  He also draws from the 1976 article ‘Power is the Great Motivator’ which describes three motivational groups of managers and reveals that those who were most interested in power were the most effective. Finally, Philip looks to the “far darker vision of managerial power” proposed by Jeffrey Pfeffer, which encourages people to “get real” and ignore the barriers that stand in the way of gaining power.

To conclude, Philip acknowledges that “Call it what you like, raw power, its acquisition and use, still count in business.”

Click here to read the article in full

Click here for more information on Philip as a speaker

Philip Delves Broughton on the recipe for business success

Author of best-selling business book ‘Life’s a Pitch’, Philip Delves Broughton’s column in the Financial Times today is a great read. In ‘A classic recipe for business success’, the management expert talks about the Union Square Hospitality Group in the US and why he believes the company has achieved “extraordinary” success.

Describing the owner, Danny Meyer as having “build a rare kind of empire”, Philip attributes management style and retaining control of every new opening, to the company’s ability to “have defied such daunting industry odds.”

Click here to read the article in full

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