Where Boards go wrong
What is seen and ignored is condoned. Often we have written policies or standards but no one bothers to uphold them. We can all agree that sometimes facing up to a serious culture issue within the organisation can be too time consuming, too difficult, too much of an interruption and so it gets ignored.
Inaction is worse.
The chief executive is a key determinant (not the only) of culture. Ensuring the correct individual is recruited and continues to live the values is crucial. But leaving it to the chief executive alone is no longer adequate.
When boards have a problem in their own ranks this is often regarded as too hard and is glossed over. Expecting high standards of behaviour through the organisation is unrealistic when there are issues at the very top. As difficult as it is, these must be addressed.
Change to culture will take time and require ongoing regular attention. Culture is usually deeply embedded in a company whether it is positive or negative, and it is a slow, difficult process to shake it up, needing skill and persistence.
The Board's oversight of culture is more than adherence to the minimum legal requirements. That minimal approach will omit key elements such as integrity, transparency and doing the right thing for all stakeholders.
The need for the board to acknowledge that it's accountability extends into the area of culture is clear. The challenge for a part-time and generally voluntary body is how, but this shouldn't be overwhelming.