The Tone From the Top : How Behaviour Trumps Strategy book cover
1st Edition

The Tone From the Top
How Behaviour Trumps Strategy

ISBN 9780367738280
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Many companies have been criticised for weak business ethics, including in some cases breaking the law. Numerous scandals have rocked industries as diverse as banking, insurance, oil, supermarkets, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and the media. But ethical lapses are not confined to business; few sectors of society can claim the moral high ground. This year, like every other year, new scandals and ethical breaches have hit the news. The Tone from the Top: How Behaviour Trumps Strategy will convince readers that leaders’ behaviour and the signals they send are more important than strategy. In an increasingly transparent world, employee engagement is founded on trust - of their boss, their department, of their whole enterprise. Ian sets the scene via ’something’s not right’ then provides first hand evidence from interviews with the chairmen of a quarter of a trillion pounds of market capitalisation (FTSE200 companies). In offering a model for a much more systematic approach, Ian shows that behaviour and signalling have a much greater influence on business performance and ethics than simply communicating a strategy. This book helps readers understand how boards provide ethical leadership; how boards monitor the tone they are setting; and how non-executive directors can check that their company has a good ethical compass.

Table of Contents

The Tone From the Top

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Ian Muir is a senior business adviser. He works with leadership teams and individuals to improve organisational performance. He has worked across five continents having been an executive committee member of a FTSE150 multinational, a director of an international telecommunications company and a trustee director of a £2.2bn pension fund. He is a graduate of Bath University, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an alumnus of INSEAD. He is also a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and a published author on resilience. After more than 30 years in corporate life, he now has a portfolio career with three strands: Non-executive director, independent consulting and working with business schools.


’Ian Muir rightly points out that to minimise ethical risk, companies should strengthen their recruitment and assessment processes. The best way to avoid bad apples is to prevent them from joining the organisation in the first place.’ James Reed, Chairman, REED ’This is an important book in the ongoing discussion of Tone at the Top. Beginning with a survey of top management makes it stand out. Quotes from those seeking to set the example and embed ethical leadership are telling, as they understand the difficulties of achieving this. These are well illustrated in the variety of case studies in Part 2. Whilst Part 3 may cause readers to stop and think about their own leadership style, and reflect. Anybody reading this engaging book will learn from it, and taking heed will contribute to a better informed, and behaved, leadership in companies, to the benefit of wider society.’ Philippa Foster Black CBE, Director, Institute of Business Ethics ’Without doubt the most authoritative and practical British book ever written on corporate ethics.’ reviewer, August 2015 ’This is a book EVERY senior leader should have in their top pocket - a mini morale compass for those who aspire to getting leadership and ethics right.’ reviewer, September 2015 ’It gives great advice on how to mitigate ethical risk - a topic that has worked its way to the top of boards' priorities.’ reviewer, August 2015