In this episode of YS Up Governance and Boards Podcast, 3YS Owls Governance Consultants, Ainslie Cunningham and Deb Anderson interview Fiona Robertson. Fiona is a culture and leadership expert and her first book, Rules of Belonging – change your organisational culture, delight your people and turbo-charge your results, was published in 2020. We explore with Fiona in-depth the “Rules of Belonging”, some neuroscience and psychological safety research, the relationship between culture and strategy and some common virtues of good leaders.
Look, the one thing I've seen a lot of, which I think doesn't work, is I've seen a lot of people who try to recruit their way to a new culture. So, the logic seems sound when you first look at it. So, they'll say things like, "If we just hire more ethical people, then we'll have more ethical decision-making.
If we just hire people who are more creative, then we'll get more innovation," and so on and so forth. And what happens is that those people will join the organisation and they'll do what I said before. They'll look around, they'll figure out what it takes to belong in that place, and they will slowly, but surely begin to adopt that behaviour as their own or they will opt out.
So, if they feel that they can't or won't earn belonging in their new place, they will opt out either through their own choice or because the immune system of the organism will reject them. And so that whole idea of, "We can recruit our way to a new culture," just doesn't work. People go native or they leave.
Fiona Robertson is a culture and leadership expert who holds an MBA from London Business School and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. She is the former Head of Culture for the National Australia Bank (NAB), where she spent 12 years in senior executive positions. She is now an independent speaker, facilitator, executive coach and author. Fiona has consulted to dozens of large and small blue-chip organisations domestically and internationally, with all levels of government in Australia and coached numerous senior executives. Clients have included ANZ, AGSM, RMIT, Monash College, IBM, Nasdaq, NCR, Oracle and McKinsey & Company.
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