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Thomson Reuters staff need new thinking and behaviour - CEO

Thomson Reuters chief executive James Smith (photo), has defined a new statement of purpose and set of values for the corporation that require new thinking and behaviour by employees to achieve a unified enterprise.

Smith told the group’s 60,000 staff that the annual senior leadership conference last week, which as always discussed strategic business priorities, also focussed on “our company’s transformation and the strategic priorities of reaffirming our purpose in the world, embracing the values that unite us as an enterprise, and understanding the way our culture must evolve in order to inspire employees, delight customers and grow revenues”.

They turned their attention to this topic for two primary reasons. “First, when I visit Thomson Reuters offices around the world, many people tell me that we need a clearer picture of our shared purpose - why we exist as a company, what connects us all and motivates us to come to work in the morning.

“Second, as I've been writing to you about for several months now, our customers' worlds are changing and they are making new demands on us. We can meet those demands far better as a unified enterprise than we can as a portfolio of separate businesses. Making that change requires new thinking and behavior from everyone at Thomson Reuters. We all have to be clear and aligned on what we want to achieve.”

Smith made clear that the aim was to “transform our organization into an enterprise that focuses not on the differences between our business units, but on what unites and inspires us all”.

The purpose statement created by the new executive committee he formed in December applies “equally and deeply” to all parts of Thomson Reuters, he said.

“We are trusted for the decisions that matter most, empowering customers to act with confidence in a complex world.

“A shared purpose is necessary but not sufficient. If we are going to be successful, we also need a set of shared values that are rooted in our purpose and guide our actions. Those values need to reflect the type of company we want to be:

Trust: We act with integrity and independence by holding ourselves and each other to be ethical and reliable in all we do.

Partnership: We work together, with each other, with our customers and with industry partners to deliver superior results and experiences.

Innovation: We innovate to serve our customers, drive our growth and win in dynamic business environments.

Performance: We deliver results, excelling at work that positively impacts the world.

“I believe these values express who we truly are when we are at our best.”

Finally, said Smith, “our culture needs to evolve in a way that supports these values and our enterprise strategy. That can only happen if our leaders ‘walk the talk.’ That's why this conversation began with our senior leaders. But every person at Thomson Reuters has a stake in this. I need your insights on how to bring our purpose and values alive and make them part of the way we do business every day.”

The chief executive invited employees to watch a video on the new values and said he would like to hear “what inspires you about Thomson Reuters, our new purpose statement and our values. How will you apply them to your role and your part of our company? How will this apply to your own thinking and behavior? And what should we expect from each other going forward?”

Smith’s message, e-mailed to staff on Monday, did not mention the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, which the company says “are fundamental to our entire business”. The Trust Principles, drafted by Reuters in 1941, were accepted by Thomson Corporation as applicable to the whole enterprise when it acquired Reuters in 2008. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, chairman of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share trustees who act as guardians of the Trust Principles, says: “Thomson Reuters is privileged to operate under such a set of guiding principles. It gives particular strength and credibility to the entire business.” ■

Thomson Reuters