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CEOs must set the tone to lead cultural change

CEOs must understand their role in building a business culture and setting the tone to succeed, ANZ Chair in Business Growth Dr Jana Matthews says. 

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Speaking at an ANZ Business Growth seminar in Melbourne, Matthews said CEOs must look beyond the day-to-day mechanics of the business and set the direction and tone of how the team will carry itself. 

"Your job as CEO is to help ordinary people do extra ordinary things,” – Dr Matthews

“Nobody else can do that but you,” Dr Matthews, who is also Director of the Centre for Business Growth (CBG) at the University of South Australia's Business School, said. “You have to understand - what is [your] mission? What are your values? And what’s [your] vision to get there?” 

CEO of Bendigo-based Moira Mac Poultry & Fine Foods Dean Russell agrees.

“Most people want direction,” Russell said. “Any direction is better than none. They’ll live down or up to your expectations and just sending that message regularly and to all levels, helps enormously.”

Dr Matthews said finding the right people for your business was just as critical as culture.

“If you have the right team, you can almost do anything,” she said. “When I look at any of the companies that have been through our program, the CEOs have come to the realisation that without the right team they can’t make it.”

In order to grow and develop a team, Dr Matthews said CEOs need to provide employees with space, time, resources, training and support to learn new things and achieve the goals laid out for them.

“Your job as CEO is to help ordinary people do extra ordinary things by the way you set the expectations,” she said. “Build the vision, give them resources, indicate what you expect and measure and celebrate your success.”    

Isaac Rankin is General Manager Business Banking at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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