Corporate Culture

Shake up the old organizational culture

Sometimes leading means eating organizational culture for lunch

Shake up the old organizational culture

There’s an old saying in business, culture eats strategy. Many a leader has fallen victim to the decision to ignore a firm’s culture. Unfortunately, in this era of change, conditions sometimes necessitate shaking things up: Sometimes leading means eating culture for lunch.

It’s refreshing to read how Antony Jenkins shook up the old organizational culture when he first entered Barclays. He delivered a blunt “shape up or ship out” message to the bank’s 140,000 staff around the world:

He said:

We must never again be in a position of rewarding people for making the bank money in a way which is unethical or inconsistent with our values.

And he warned:

There might be some who don’t feel they can fully buy in to an approach which so squarely links performance to the upholding of our values. My message to those people is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won’t feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won’t feel comfortable with you as colleagues.

He also told employees that some staff members had put short-term individual gains ahead of the bank’s reputation:

In doing so we damaged our ability to make long-term sustainable returns

Performance assessment will be based not just on what we deliver but on how we deliver it

He implemented a new scorecard to measure and report on performance of people and the business based around the “5Cs”: Customer and Client, Colleague, Citizenship, Conduct and Company.

Metrics and targets:

  • Customer and client – Improving the rating by customers from fourth to first and move from a fourth position in “share of wallet” across the industry to inside the top three
  • Colleague – Increasing the number of women in leadership roles from 21% to 26% and improving the “engagement” of colleagues from 74% to 91%.
  • Citizenship – Hitting the targets in the bank’s citizenship plan, which sets out a number of promises about paying taxes and treatment of customers.
  • Conduct – Improve the measure in the YouGov survey from 5.2 out of 10 to 6.5.
  • Company – Having return on equity (a measure of shareholder performance) that is greater than the cost of equity (the cost of doing business) and also have core tier one capital ratio (a measure of financial strength) of 10.5%, up from 9.3% now.

As part of the Transform process, we committed ourselves to training all our employees on the importance of Barclays’ Purpose, helping people achieve their ambitions – in the right way and with our Values – Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship. We recognize that putting these Values into practice is absolutely fundamental to our success in building the “Go-To” bank

Cultural change initiatives, particularly in the large institutions, remain relatively fragile.

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Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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