RBS: How company culture really matters…

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MY LIVING ROOM — I’m watching a Panorama show on the Royal Bank of Scotland. It’s a brilliantly entertaining show. A fascinating expose of business in a way that most of us can understand.

If you’re in the UK you can probably watch it on the BBC i-player.

The point that fascinates me that I think we should think about is the question of the company culture. I know most people say that company culture is not a solid, changeable or really influential thing. But that’s not what this show is saying.

That’s not what banks or other changing businesses need to know.

RBS’ culture is listed as matching the marketing slogan: Make It Happen.

An insider is quoted extensively saying that it was just a way of working and one that was behind the banks disastrous purchase of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. That bank, the show suggests, was purchased well above a reasonable cost with assets that she should have been paid to take on.

The rest of the show is now telling us about how lawyers, not just in the UK, are now looking to recoup billions from the bank and it’s management.


That’s pretty solid.

There are obvious, easily understood and manageable things about company culture that can be understood and influenced.

Why won’t people start to manage that?

Like, now?


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