Changes in global commerce, political or socio-demographic spheres may cause the same traits that facilitated a company's success in one evolutionary period to derail it in the next. This may necessitate rapid adaptation of its business strategy and corporate culture. Boards and management play a vital role in ensuring the company has adequate cultural alignment with the chosen strategy. Herein lies the risk. Companies are often blind to their own national culture. And because corporate culture is so soft and complex, dysfunctional behaviour is easily swept aside with subjective arguments and dismissed as not being important. Who can argue with numbers that are audited by a reputable global and government certified auditor? But it seems that anyone is free to argue with the interpretation of culture to support whatever agenda they have. Therefore, we suggest that companies elevate the cultural discussion so it is more data driven, without losing the important nuances and the soft nature of the subject – to ensure it is taken seriously!

To achieve this, the board and the management must create a governance framework that allows for a more objective discussion of culture – even when it is difficult – and create a culture that allows management to look in their own cultural mirror in a non-threatening manner. Diversity of thinking and respect for other people's perspectives are two critical virtues that should govern this ...

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