An organisations leadership sets the culture and thereby its brand, Bob Every, chair of Wesfarmers and Boral, said.

Vision, strategy and operating style are the three critical components needed to be utilised by leadership if they want to define culture and build a sustainable brand he said.

“Vision is the net presence value of future thought. Great leaders articulate and define the vision. They put a light on a hill and show where we want to be. People can get behind it, even if it is a stretch.”

Strategy and operating style he defined as how we go about our daily work, adding that tools are there to help, but that “some leaders get confused and think tools are the panacea”.

He emphasised that a leaders actions need to match their rhetoric.

On the topic of boards he said they don’t run the company, management does, therefore, even with the increasing responsibilities being placed upon boards, the single and most important function was the selection, oversight and succession planning of the chief executive.

While the relationship between the chief executive and chair was a “critical conduit” and must be based on respect and transparency, though how the two interfaced would be fluid and change depending on a range of factors.


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