Stop the Rot
Reframing Governance for Directors and Politicians
Following the international success of The Fish Rots from the Head: Developing Effective Directors, this sequel from Bob Garratt explains the public’s distrust of the people who govern us – the directors, owners, regulators and politicians – and how this can be changed.
Currently, Corporate Governance is too narrow and fragmented. The growing gap between the angry public and the urban elite, made manifest by Brexit and Trump, is due to a lack of appreciation by both parties of the roles and values of well-governed organisations in bonding a society at both national and international levels.
This book pulls no punches and directly challenges directors and politicians to reframe their thinking about ‘governance’ to address the public’s distrust of them. This is the ROT that needs to be STOPPED.
This book is truly radical in going back to basics and then designing a new national action learning system between the four main players overseen by continuous public scrutiny. It is designed to counter the official reports of organisational failure that end too frequently with the weasel words ‘but the main problem was a failure of corporate governance’. Currently this is code for ‘so no-one can do much about it’. This book shows what can be done.
The book explains how the disjointed responses to the angry public have resulted in a series of unhelpful regulations made worse by their thoughtless application. This reaction has reduced the chances of directors being able to deliver their main purpose – ensuring the future of their business by better understanding the complexities of their future financial, social and environmental policies and enabling improved creativity and thoughtful risk-taking.
Stop the Rot sets ‘governance’ in a much wider social context. The acceptance of global Human Values in all of our organizations, with their necessary ethics and behaviours, ensures the development of Inclusive Capitalism to the advantage of all.
Professor Bob Garratt is once again at the forefront of challenging conventional thinking on corporate governance in fearlessly exploring areas that others fear to tread. In his relentless pursuit of excellence in governance, Professor Garratt thankfully takes us beyond yet another dissertation on rules and standards to remind us of the underlying thesis of good governance around values and trust and seeks to build on the twin issues of competence and professionalism. What I find compelling is his challenge to regulators and policy makers to demonstrate genuine commitment and leadership in encouraging thoughtful legislation and enforcement that restores the productive, but responsible, capacity of business enterprise.
The depth of investigation into the fundamental conflicts and inconsistencies in current corporate governance frameworks and practices brings transparency to many of the sources of lack of trust and faith in Australian business leaders today. An incredibly valuable work. It needs to be studied be the leaders in business and government to begin the processes of correction. As expected by readers of Bob Garratt’s seminal work The Fish Rots from the Head, the author has not disappointed. Stop the Rot will be a handbook for all those involved in corporate entities seeking certainty of direction to improve the standing of business leaders in the community.
Taking as a starting point the low level of public trust in our business leaders and politicians, Bob Garratt powerfully argues the case for rethinking what we mean by governance. In his view, rethinking is needed in organisations of all kinds – listed corporations, private companies, state-owned enterprises, even charities and co-operatives, as well as by politicians. His focus is on our systems of values and the need to re-connect our basic human values and the values in use in commercial and political life. His comprehensive study of the issues and possible ways forward should be required reading for all those who hold, or aspire to, positions of power in society.
I am happy to work with, and learn from, Bob Garratt, Honorary Visiting Professor at Cass Business School. This book epitomises his bold approach. In a world hungry for responsible governance and trusted leaders, his insights highlight the unacceptable, showcase the much needed exemplars, and push us towards higher professional standards. I particularly appreciate his call for leaders who forge and sustain good governance built on collective ambition, trust and values. His ‘provocation’ is not only to corporate leaders but also to policy makers and regulators who must reinforce such standards of excellence if we are to stop the rot.
Professor Garratt’s latest book, Stop the Rot, focuses on the governance of governance, and clearly and succinctly lays out who are the key players, what are the key issues and what needs to be done. The 2008 Financial Crisis was a watershed, but have we really learned the lessons? Professor Garratt puts forward some interesting suggestions and solutions with a call for a new national governance framework based on strong moral values and ethical leadership. A must read for anyone interested in governance.
Bob Garratt adds to his library of classic works on Governance with this volume which builds on the earlier excellent analysis, on what is wrong with our boardrooms, by dealing with the ongoing frustration over a lack of implementation of previously agreed changes in corporate governance, which has undermined trust.
For too long the knee jerk reaction of government and business to justified criticism has been to resort to a tick box regulation mentality which is skin deep and fails to deal with the underlying issues. Further, it encourages top-down micro-management which stifles innovation, development and initiative.
Bob, here, prescribes more fundamental change based on learning which puts humanity, values and ethics to the fore whilst encouraging entrepreneurial direction.
Anybody who is unsatisfied with the current state of governance and lack of trust should read and apply the lessons!
It is clear that this new book from Bob Garratt is needed as a guide to the post Brexit Trump world, it is visionary in making bold suggestions; it is ambitious in raising new questions. The book pinpoints the “demolishing of professionalism” as the critical cultural change that accounts for so much that we regret in today’s corporate world.
SECTION ONE: CONTEXT
3. Introduction: From Codes and Compliance to the Leadership of Risks and Moral Values
4. Three Unstoppable Global Pressures Demanding Better Leadership
SECTION TWO: THE FOUR PLAYER ANALYSES
5. The Paradox of Breaking Free from the Current Logjam By
Going Back to Basics
SECTION THREE: PROPOSALS TOWARDS A NATIONAL LEADERSHIP LEARNING SYSTEM
6. Towards a National Learning System for Leadership and
9. Social Networking Links
BOB GARRAT is a company director, consultant, and academic working on corporate governance; board and director evaluation and performance, organisational learning and change, and strategic thinking issues. He is based in London and consults on five of the six continents.
His books include: The Fish Rots From The Head: Developing Effective Boards; Thin On Top: Why Corporate Governance Matters; Developing Strategic Thought (ed); and The Learning Organisation: Developing Democracy At Work. He is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Journal of Business Studies; Development and Learning in Organisations; Action Learning; and Organisations and People.