Wednesday, August 5, 2015

It's our Culture

“It’s our Culture, Sir.” Does it sound familiar? Perhaps this is one sentence we must have heard umpteen times at different places. India being a melting pot of various cultures this is a universal statement across the country where one part of India is different from the other. Culture is a mix of rituals and social behaviour of a particular group of people. A South Indian culture is in stark contrast to may be a Punjabi or a Gujarati culture. Thus it makes it easier for a person to mould his behaviour when he is meeting a particular group of people belonging to a specific culture. The truth is that culture provides identity to people.

Same holds true in the business context as well. A company which does not focus on culture might lose its identity. It is important for a first generation entrepreneur to simultaneously nurture a work culture in his enterprise along with the day to day focus on business operations. The work culture is the value system based on the vision and mission of his set-up. It is strongly influenced by the ideology of the entrepreneur and his own personal values. The behaviour and attitude of employees, fairness in business transactions, and commitment to individual work profile are some of the important aspect of corporate culture.

The culture of a business set-up works as a brand-stakeholders touch point and thus it helps in creating image of the company in the market place. For the first generation entrepreneur creating a culture for his enterprise is relatively easy as he is starting from the scratch and can mould the culture as per his vision and values but for an established company it is a tougher job as Raghu Krishnamoorthy, Vice President GE writes:

“Culture is often associated with the individual at the helm — so much so that the return of a former chief (Steve Jobs returning to Apple, A.G. Lafley going back to P&G) is often intended and viewed as a kind of restoration. However, true culture turnaround requires a complete psychological shift across the entire organization. It is relatively easy for new organizations to start with a clean sheet of paper in creating a culture. But for organizations that have been around for a while, the shift involves quite a bit of shedding and rewiring.”

A business set-up or an enterprise is affected by Macro and Micro environment and hence to have a rigid work culture is not advisable. Of course a certain basic principles should be laid and right values should be in place based on the entrepreneur’s vision but the culture should be ever-evolving to make the operations smooth in a dynamic macro-micro environment.
It is also essential for an entrepreneur to continuously monitor the culture in his organization. With certain companies it is observed that the philosophy statement adorns the back wall of employee’s work place but it hardly finds place in his work practice. Values on paper are ineffective if not practiced with honesty and integrity.

In order to have an effective work culture in his set-up, the first generation entrepreneur should follow the following 7 steps:

  • ·        Define his vision and goal
  • ·        Define his mission to achieve the vision
  • ·        Define work culture based on the above & keep it evolving
  • ·        Identify the right values he wishes to inculcate
  • ·        Monitor the implementation of these values in his set-up
  • ·        Take steps if values are not followed
  • ·    Integrate the work-culture as a part of important HR practice and reward the best employee purely on his ethics, values and culture he followed

We, at Hearty Mart have a work philosophy and it is mandatory for our employees to start their day after reading this philosophy collectively like a pledge every morning –

“A successful businessman is not just a person earning a huge profit or with a big bank balance. True businessman is driven by a passion to do something good. To bring in change. To do whatever possible for his stake holders, so that they can run the business well. To nurture the business like a parent till it is strong enough to run on its own. That is business and that is success.”

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