The Power of Culture study

A global study on investment culture, leadership and diversity

The Thinking Ahead Institute was formed in 2015 to address the main investment industry issues, including culture and leadership and one of our first research papers was about culture in institutional investment. Since then our members have used the research to measure and manage their cultures. Specifically, one of our members – Willis Towers Watson – has used the research to develop its manager research culture assessment framework, designed to assess and select asset managers based on how they deliver value to their employees and clients and how their leadership provide cultural guidance and oversight.

Following in-depth research into effective culture in investment organisations we are launching another global study of asset managers and asset owners keen to understand their own cultural signature and leadership footprints and how they could sharpen their edge. In addition to developing their own better cultural outcomes, participants will be signing up to support more wide-spread positive cultural change. This will be achieved as aggregated results and data sheds new light on the power of culture to support greater purpose, innovation and sustainability in the investment industry, while highlighting diversity and inclusion as a cultural-edge opportunity.

By participating, we believe organisations will:

  • Improve their vocabulary and narrative on culture, including access to the latest Institute research
  • Have their culture measured and be empowered to manage it using proprietary Institute tools
  • Make the link between strategy and culture more tangible and achievable through dialogue with the Institute team
  • Explore how greater organisational purpose can be part of the culture and vision conversation
  • Discover opportunities for culture innovation, particularly around diversity and inclusion

The study’s findings will explore individual organisation’s beliefs using our confidential proprietary survey to engage senior leadership and derive their beliefs about culture, including their own organisation’s position, cross-referencing with sample views across all organisations. With this data we will produce a customised culture dashboard report and use it to give 1-2-1 feedback that helps explore the organisation’s cultural state and aspirations, and will be captured in a white paper comprising feedback data, analysis and narrative on the state of culture in the investment industry and its influences, opportunities and challenges.

The Thinking Ahead Institute is a not-for-profit research and innovation member group and we are requesting study subscriptions, to cover our costs, of US$10,000 for asset owners and US$15,000 for asset managers. Subscriptions for Institute members will be waived. For more information please enquire here, or call Paul Deane-Williams (+447734342139).

The power of culture summit

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Further reading

The power of culture whitepaper 

This whitepaper builds on the The impact of culture on institutional investors research and contains the findings of The power of culture study, which involved 15 asset managers and asset owners. These leader organisations joined the study in various ways to better understand their own cultural signature and leadership, where they sit on a spectrum and how they could sharpen their own competitive edge

The impact of culture on institutional investors

Culture is a unique ingredient in the struggle for competitive advantage among institutional investment organisations. There are ways for culture to be managed and developed over time but it will take focus, patience, leadership and process.
This paper discusses the factors and strategies for the effective implementation of a strong organisational culture.

Value creation and purpose

A further dimension to our sustainability research – as recognition of the need for organisations to better understand the value they create for stakeholders. Understanding what stakeholders value is a critical input into determining an organisation’s vision, strategy and culture. Further reading: Missions Critical: understanding value creation.

Multi-factor diversity

Organisations need to be wary of this and employ deeper thinking on diversity, in all of its forms, whilst employing a sustained and systematic commitment to diversity and its inclusion in all aspects of their business models. Further reading: Multi-factor diversity.

Better decision making

Collective decision-making is a skill that can be more easily nurtured in an organisation with a strong and collaborative culture. Further reading: Better decision -making: a toolkit, contains a list of tools, including how to improve group dynamics for key decision-making meetings.