The Constitution of the Enterprise
We all have values, principles, standards, policies… that guide the operation, behaviour and development of the enterprise that keep the enterprise effective and honest.
Values are essentially a moral code that aims to render the enterprise a happy and effective working place.
Principles are often lessons learned and distilled as best practices that employees should keep in mind and apply in their work relationships and decision making process.
How do you make them work though? Is there a framework for doing just that?
Are they to be stuck on the lobby wall or on a portal banner? Must then everybody check the wall for making a decision?
How does one enforce today the “Values” of an enterprise for that matter?
In reality, there is seldom a mechanism to do that. What that means is that the Values we often see bannered in the enterprise prescribe an aspirational world without means to realise it in practice. This may often been seen as an exercise in cynicism. We have all these values but look who disregards them in practice.
How do you enforce these good practices…. though? Is there a need for a principles or practices regulation body, a code of penalties and a “principles” police to penalise the non compliant?
The answer is yes, you do need a framework and regulation bodies that do not exist right now, at least not to my knowledge. Otherwise the values do remain stuck on a wall, a nice decoration that everybody ignores.
To establish a proper governance framework you must answer the questions: What decisions, How (on what basis), and Who makes them.
– Who: employees, experts, managers, boards, committees..,
– What type of decisions takes each Who
– How: based on what governance Values, Principles, Rules, Policies, Standards, past cases…
To be applied in practice, they must be embedded in the every day processes of the enterprise: establish principles, values… checks in common enterprise processes at regular reviews, at each milestone of a development, on notification… so that any development, body, decision making and major action shall consider them.
Hence you automate governance execution rather than sticking the rules on a wall.
And indeed, the governance rules above should be reflected in the organisation design. Every, employee, manager in the hierarchy,… decision board should have the responsibility to take the governance principles and their derivatives into consideration in the daily work. Overlaps in decision making remits should be avoided at all costs so that conflict is eliminated between bodies.
A special body would create, maintain and evolve the governance guiding artefacts.
A special appeal hierarchy should be also created. The managers, governing boards will review decisions and notifications, observe application and record decisions and issues.
Not last, to make a difference, the sum of harmonised Values, principles, standards and best practices should form the high code that guides the effective and ethical operation of the enterprise, that is the Constitution of the Enterprise.
Ultimately, the principles should be, in time, reflected in the organization culture, that is in the behaviour of the employee. That minimises the need and cost for formal mechanisms to enforce it.