When building a network that is successful, coherent and well-run, it’s critical to establish a solid foundation where values work hand in glove with vision (purpose) and mission (core operating principles). And that is precisely what our HR and BD teams have been progressing over the past 12 months.

Our values, vision and mission form an ethical framework – an expression of what we believe in and the standards that we uphold. In making these visible, as well as living them in everything we do, our network will be better placed to be the best possible version of itself, now and into the future.

To deliver the greatest practical benefit, an ethical framework will provide a way to diagnose ethics failure, apportion responsibility, and offer a means to ensure equity and justice for all. In addition to describing the minimum standard, it also provides the ideal for us to strive for. And to be effective, it must be consistently embraced by every member of the network, so it is extremely important that have your say in its development.

We have consulted widely – with clients (prospective and current), staff and partners – to explore a suitable set of authentic, vision-enabling values for Bentleys, and today we invite you (every Bentleys partner and executive member) to complete a short survey to provide the final injection of data required to complete this process, and to support our continued transition as a full-service advisory firm, delivering strategic, practical and transformational outcomes for our clients and our community.

The power of a strong ethics framework

A solid ethics framework will unite our workforce under a common goal, creating a stronger, better workplace culture in the process. It has the potential to help our leaders make decisions that are consistent with purpose, and improve our decision-making capacity. It will help us to be more adaptable to change, and clearly demonstrate to our community what we stand for and where we are headed.

An ethics framework, supported by suitably authentic, meaningful, growth-oriented values, will also support our ability to create and leverage workplace policies and corporate strategy. Without it, all of these processes become far more difficult to navigate.

  • Values tell us what’s good – they’re the things we strive for, desire and seek to protect
  • Mission (principles) tell us what’s right – outlining how we may or may not achieve our values
  • Vision (purpose) is our reason for being – it gives life to our values and principles.

Vision (or purpose)

‘Bentleys is a visionary and agile network of advisory and accounting firms, delivering strategic, practical and transformative outcomes for our clients and our community.’

Creating a great vision statement is a something of an art form. Given it tends to be the most visible, public-facing feature of the framework, it needs to achieve a great deal in a few words. It should be inspiring, have an aspirational quality, and capture the essence of our ‘why?’.

Would you like to suggest any improvements to Bentleys’ vision statement (above)? If so, please share your thoughts here.

Good for business

A good ethics framework isn’t designed to maximise profits (although it often does deliver commercial benefits as well), rather, it is designed to protect and improve the relationship between our business and our community. By motivating employees and demonstrating the value and purpose of the business to them, they are more likely to serve as ambassadors for our organisation.

Although a vision statement, corporate values and organisational principles won’t guarantee perfect ethical conduct, they’re crucial ingredients in building a culture in which bad behaviour is discouraged and disincentivised. They’re also a flag of goodwill to stakeholders that we, as an organisation, are looking to serve humanity and not simply turn a quick buck.

Approached with a proper degree of care and sophistication, our ethics framework can have a profoundly positive effect on our enterprise culture. In establishing the things we believe in and identifying the behaviours we wish to encourage, we establish a framework for a great corporate culture – one based on respect, trust, collaboration and accountability. And who wouldn’t want that.

Next steps

  1. Partner survey. Please complete this survey by 10 July to enable us to refresh our values authentically.
  2. Analysis. After you complete this survey, our HR and BD teams will meet to distil all the findings and draft a proposed set of refreshed values.
  3. Final consultation. We will then circulate the proposed set of values, forming part of a draft ethical framework, for your comment.
  4. Board ratification. We will make necessary adjustments before taking a final recommendation to the next Board meeting for ratification.
  5. Implementation. From there, the HR and BD teams will prepare and implement plans to support the cultural development of the network.

 

I encourage each of you to get involved at this final stage of the values refresh process – a time which I feel is so appropriate given we are all reconsidering our ‘new normal’ post COVID.

Tony Sacre
CEO, Bentleys Network
30 June 2020