As I was following media coverage of the Hayne Royal Commission into Misconduct in Banking and Financial Services this week, I couldn’t help but recall my own experience working for two of the big four banks in senior corporate affairs roles.
A reputation is an animal that you create; you never quite have complete control over it, but you can influence its shape and direction. Most people are full of great stories about businesses with bad reputations, they’ll even launch into tirades about catastrophic environmental damage, human rights violations, financial disasters or even advertising brain farts.
We are witnessing the balancing act between performance and values on the front page of our newspapers every day. The demand for returns and increasing performance has led to bad decision making in our banks where people have shelved values and ethical behaviour and taken short cuts to boost performance.
The #TimesUp campaign has demonstrated how quickly things can change. What today appears impregnable and immutable can, in a heartbeat, be left exposed, discredited and abandoned. There are lessons in this for Australian listed companies.
The current standoff between Rugby Australia, its superstar player Israel Folau and Qantas over Folau’s views on homosexuality poses a fascinating PR and moral dilemma: should an organisation try to gag the private views of an employee on contentious issues if they undermine a commercial relationship?
The unedifying ball-tampering crisis engulfing the Australian cricket team and its captain Steve Smith has placed the spotlight squarely on the response by the sport’s governing body, Cricket Australia.
Interesting view towards establishing a Federal ICAC being expressed by federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today. He believes that a Federal ICAC would help fix the image of politicians and help rid the public perception that they are only in it for themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The CBA has its fair share of reputation issues over the last few years and no doubt there were those that were looking and hoping that the Board would select some outside new blood to take a fresh broom approach to the bank.