Australia Financial Industry Executives Were Unaware of the Trouble Brewing | Bloomberg

Starling Team

The Australian financial services industry has been reeling this year from a series of scandals brought out by that country’s Royal Commission on banking abuses. Through a series of very public hearings, top executives leaders at Australia’s most prestigious institutions have faced intense grilling.

As journalist Emily Cadman points out in this excellent Bloomberg article, Australia bank leaders were largely caught unawares by the scope of the problem that had developed under their noses. Having emerged from the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 relatively unscathed, those executives were lured into a sense of complacency regarding their exposure to non-financial risk. As Cadman points out, when the full extent of misconduct became clear, the public reaction was ferocious and shows little sign of ebbing.

While Australian banks are feeling the heat now, they are hardly alone. From Wells Fargo to London banks caught up in the LIBOR scandal, culture and conduct risk is extremely difficult to diagnose and manage. It is, in fact, the cultural norms that employees consider to be ‘standard practice’ that often provide an environment where misconduct is able to flourish.

Read the full article: The Dirty Banks Down Under

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What Behaviors Make Leaders Trusted – And Which Do Not? | MIT Sloan Management Review

Starling Team

Credibility, the ability to instill Trust among one’s followers, is a key requirement of leadership. A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article reports on the results of a series of field studies that identify and measure key behavioral elements that either support, or damage, leadership credibility.

It is little surprise to us at Starling how many characteristics of credibility appear to be dependent upon relational dynamics. While certain factors, like competence and eschewing ego-driven activity are certainly necessary, many of the signals to which employees react have more to do with how leaders communicate, and with whom.

At Starling, we understand behavior to be a social construct and that outcomes like Leadership Credibility are best tested for by analyzing the interactions and behaviors among employees.

Read the article: Why People Believe In Their Leaders – Or Not

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Leveraging Your Software Vendors for Benchmarking | Harvard Business Review

Starling Team

As companies wake up to the value of their data, more and more customers are getting added value from the data they provide to their software vendors. As Harvard Business Review article points out, vendors can erect ‘data mirrors’ for the benefit of their customers – making a firm’s data more valuable by placing it in context of other, similar, customers and creating a means for industry bench-marking.

Some software firms are actively building out this capability through product innovation or acquisition. For instance, S&P Global reportedly acquired AI-analytics firm Kensho to diversify the non-financial performance data it is able to capture.

At Starling we are exploring exciting opportunities for combining and sharing aggregated behavioral and cultural insight data across firms and industries. An industry utility of this nature has the potential to give firms new tools and benchmarks for managing their organizations and engineering their cultures so as to drive improved performance and reduced risk.

Read the article here: How B2B Software Vendors Can Help Their Customers Benchmark

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A Copernican Revolution in Culture and Conduct Risk Management | Starling

Starling Team

Starling CEO Stephen Scott along with Starling Advisors Nicholas Christakis, Mirea Raaijmakers, and Martin Wheatly cowrote an article for Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence titled “A Copernican Revolution in Culture and Conduct Risk Management”. The authors argue that traditional means of managing culture and conduct risk rely too much on outdated theories about employees behaving as rational actors. As a result, the mechanisms that firms use tend to rely heavily on a rules-based approach leveraging employee surveys and training as a means to encourage compliance.

In actuality, employees operate in complex environments where group norms and witnessed behavior can easily overwhelm the ‘tone from the top’. In this environment, new tools are required that can make sense of these complex systems and guide managers to more effective interventions.

Read the full article: A Copernican Revolution in Culture and Conduct Risk Management

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Designing to Avoid “Ordinary Unethicality”

Starling Team

Dave Nussbaum, managing editor at the Behavioral Scientist blog, recently sat down with Yuval Feldman at Bar-Ilan University Law School in Israel. Professor Feldman recently published the book The Law of Good People: Challenging States’ Ability to Regulate Human Behavior in which he examines how behavioral ethics could change legal design and enforcement.

Through the course of the interview, Professor Feldman describes how ethical violations are highly contagious. When left unchecked, such behavior will grow and the numerous, subtle rule violations that result end up creating new social norms for what is considered permissible legal behavior. These small rule violations “ordinary unethicality” gives people room to pursue their self-interest while still feeling comfortable with their ethical choices. Within a particular firm or in broader society, the cumulative impact has a greater impact on the destruction of social capital and trust than the few gross violations by truly “bad” people.

The full interview is available: Designing to Avoid “Ordinary Unethicality”: A Q&A with Yuval Feldman

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