Most cost-effective route to behaviour change shared at international consultation meetings

According to Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas new forms of leadership and governance are required that change the emphasis from top-down management and motivation to providing better support to key work groups and people in the front-line: “Instead of directing people, what about helping them? We should make it easier for people to do the right things, and make it more difficult for them to do the wrong things”.

The University of Greenwich Professor’s research reveals there are cost-effective ways of quickly achieving the behaviour changes required: “Better performance support can align interests and enable companies to simultaneously achieve multiple objectives. It can deliver benefits for both people and organisations. It can help people to help themselves and enable them to take more informed and sustainable decisions.”

Coulson-Thomas feels that many approaches to governance, risk and compliance are too costly and overly elaborate: “Boards are receiving detailed reports compiled at great expense by people whose salaries depend on continuing investment in their functions and activities. In an era of insecurity and uncertainty it is often the unexpected that gets us. We should put more emphasis upon helping people to cope with challenges and seize opportunities as and when they arise.”

The professor believes “governance, risk and compliance should not be negative or an overhead cost. They should add value. Expensive and time consuming approaches should be replaced by quicker and cheaper ways of ensuring compliance that also boost performance, increase understanding, speed up responses, reduce stress and make it easier for those in front-line roles to do difficult jobs and deliver value to customers, citizens and clients.”

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas was sharing key findings from his latest research reports on the new leadership required to build high performance organisations. He was speaking in India and Dubai at consultations on channelling corporate behaviour held at the Hyatt Bangalore and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to consider hypotheses developed by a research project being funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and undertaken under the auspices of ACCA’s Governance, Risk and Performance Global Forum of which Coulson-Thomas is a member.

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of over 40 books and reports, a member of the business school team at the University of Greenwich and chairman of Adaptation and ELMS Global holds a portfolio of private, public and voluntary sector appointments. He can be contacted via and his recent books and reports can be obtained from


25 Jan 2014
Colin Coulson-Thomas