Corporate Eye

Creative Corporate Governance–Bouygues Group

In the past I’ve profiled companies that use creativity in their Corporate Governance practices. I found that the US does not have the lead. In fact it seems that most companies in this category are non-US.

One creative company of note is France based Bouygues Group (pronounced “bweeg”). They have an interesting About Us section which they call Group

Note the well designed navigation — there is a company overview, a note from the CEO and other items to permit the visitor to quickly grasp what the company is about. I also found the  Values section interesting —

The Bouygues group’s growth is hinged on a strong culture that has always put people first. Its founding principles include teamwork, the assumption of responsibility and respect. Bouygues’ corporate culture is founded on the 11 following values:

1. People are our greatest resource.

2. Customers are the reason for the company’s existence and satisfying them is our only goal.

3. Quality is the key to competitiveness.

4. Creativity enables us to offer our customers original, practical solutions at the best cost.

5. Technical innovation, which improves the cost and efficiency of our products, underpins our success.

6. Respect for oneself, for others and for the environment inspires our everyday behaviour.

7. Promotion is based on individual merit.

8. Training gives our people the means to extend their knowledge and enhance their professional life.

9. Young people, and their potential, will forge the company’s future.

10. Challenge drives progress. To stay a leader, we must act like a challenger.

11. Attitude is more powerful than technical and economic strength alone.

(Updated: September 2008)

Comprehensive and rather unique. The company’s Ethics principles also stand out —

Code of Ethics: the key points

Bouygues expects all Group employees to uphold the following core values in the workplace:

1. strict application of laws, regulations and internal standards, in particular with regard to the protection of health, safety and the preservation of the environment;

2. respect for employees, in particular by complying with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental principles of the International Labour Organisation;

3. honesty, equity and transparency towards clients, shareholders and partners;

4. accuracy and reliability of internal control, the accounts and financial information;

5. compliance with the rules that ensure free competition, and rejection of corruption in all its forms, in particular those prohibited by the OECD;

6. loyalty to the company, in particular by avoiding conflicts of interests, breaches of confidentiality and all prohibited stock market transactions involving listed Group shares;

7. a team spirit for intra-Group relations;

8. protection of Group assets, in particular by refraining from all personal use;

9. an ongoing desire to ensure quality and sustainable development;

10. political neutrality of the company, in particular by avoiding contributions to the financing of political activities.

The full Code of Ethics is available. Next, there is a creative display of the plus 145,000 people who work for the company.

The significance of  Creativity for Corporate Governance is that it indicates that the company is particularly serious about presenting a clear and transparent image to its stakeholders. In addition it adds to the trustworthiness of the company since they go the extra steps to insure that they communicate in a manner that enhances understanding. Perhaps this should be a new metric to gauge effective Corporate Governance.

Bouygues –il est bien fait!

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Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business (with distinction). He has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning. Ed has over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. He is co-author of the book "Simple Stories for Leadership Insight," published by University Press of America.