"Seeding a company's culture with the right values is the most powerful thing you can do. Ultimately, the culture will become more important to the success or failure of your company than you are. The culture you establish will guide and teach all your people in all their decisions."

Scott Cook

The social dimensions of running a business, including core values, corporate identity, and ethical behavior - often thought of as the "soft issues" -- have become critical competencies for sustaining a company's future. Most of us do not make transformative changes as long as what we learn fits neatly into our already construed worldview. We have to learn to change.

The challenge is to figure out a practical course of action that will enable the company to remain competitive while upholding its values and minimizing collateral harm caused by its activities. This requires new learning, skill development and leadership training. Corporate misconduct has been repeatedly traced to factors such as unrealistic performance pressures, careless hiring practices, inadequate training and leadership failures.

Corporate Learning Services

Learning programs that are integrated with good global business practices, core values and relevant international standards will help organizations change for the better and for good. Achieving lasting culture change and shareholder value requires a long-term commitment to learning and performance.

SmithOBrien delivers leadership development programs in the multiple dimensions of corporate sustainability for all levels of the organization:

  • Board of Directors
  • Senior Management Team
  • Global Business Units
  • Partners and Suppliers
  • Employees and New Hires

Our program designs are based on advanced adult learning theory and years of field experience implementing learning programs for some of the largest multinationals.

We offer education for members of the Board of Directors that will both inform and challenge. Our organizational learning programs for managers and global workers incorporate interactive e-learning modules created by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Cambridge University.

Each custom learning program is designed in consultation with our clients to include:

  • Identification of desired corporate values, codes of conduct, and best practices
  • Needs analysis of every level of learning audience
  • Optimized use of available technologies
  • Adaptation for cultural, regional or community differences
  • Pilot programs
  • Train-the-trainer for corporate self-sufficiency

Board Education

Board education and involvement ensure adequate oversight of ethical and responsible practices, which are the basis for an admired and sustainable organization. The goal of our Board Education is to demonstrate the business case for integrating social, environmental and financial performance. Our skilled trainer/facilitators engage Board members in constructive dialogue and interactive exercises that expand their knowledge and their thinking.

Board Education can enhance responsible corporate leadership by building awareness of current and emerging trends, best practices, and ethical issues so that Board members:

  • Know what sustainability issues to prioritize
  • Are able to ask the right questions of management
  • Understand the risk of not paying attention to current issues
  • Understand how to prepare for "what's coming down the pike"

Organizational Learning

Our modular learning programs allow each client to choose the sustainability topics and issues that are most relevant to their business and industry.

Sample content might include:

  • Tying environmental, social, product and economic performance to business growth and market leadership
  • Understanding that the glue of sustainability/corporate responsibility is corporate values and culture
  • What is the mind-set and skill-set necessary to lead a sustainable company into the 21st century, where innovation and engagement in a consumer economy is driven by social media?
  • Ensuring that the right corporate behaviors exist for culture to be: Responsible, Respectful, Accountable, Transparent, Inclusive, Ethical

Our Corporate Learning Programs can be delivered in face-to-face seminars or combined with on-line learning technology to reach employees worldwide. Whether face-to-face, on-line or blended, each program is planned with a client task force and introduced through a carefully controlled pilot program for evaluation and revision.

A few of our Corporate Learning engagements:

  • Conducted one-day training for the Public Policy Committee of the Board of a Fortune 500 company. This custom training, designed to help the Committee better understand the risks and opportunities of adopting sustainability as a business strategy, addressed diversity in the workplace (as well as alerting the Board to the needs and expectations of minority consumers in different local markets) and the environmental affects of building a new facility.
  • Developed and implemented worldwide leadership training for technical executives at global oil exploration and development group. Executives received on-line resources to support intensive seminar sessions. Training addressed issues of diversity, environment and stakeholder communications.
  • Built on-line resource library to educate senior management and HR professionals of a global financial services firm. Program was integrated with performance measurement on issues of leadership and corporate responsibility.