Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait talks of why Business of business need not always be business and why importance to culture and value building can actually yield positive bottom line results
That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important cause of business frustration and failure – Peter Drucker
“Don’t lie”,” Do not steal”,” Respect the elders” are some of the gyaan our parents and teachers give us time and again. We would either decide to follow those or not to without even realizing their relevance in our life. Value is definitely not an unknown word for us. And its relevance is such that all our actions, behavior and goals are determined by, knowingly or unknowingly, following such set of values.
We often hear people cribbing about their bosses, work and work environment. It was only when I attended a training programme on Values and Culture that I really came to know how those words from our parents and teachers can actually drive our conduct in the professional world too. While it not only got into my brains but I was thoroughly convinced they are more than theory and training materials.
Professional education in India has come a long way. However little attention has been given to subjects like Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. So much so that the management graduates now believe that they cannot survive in the corporate world if they hold on to their ideals and that these values and ethics are irrelevant in the world of work. There has always been a tussle between our personal ideals and the ones emerging in the society.
The fact that values impact decisions and when these are upheld by managerial decisions determine the organizational culture cannot be ignored. However most organizations perceive culture building as an image building exercise. Such organizations do have a statement of Organizational Values that are never brought into practice. It is because of inadequate competence in practicing rather than lack of intention.
Also as children we are always conditioned to be in the crowd and follow others. This conditioning to a large extent leads to imbalance in the corporate world wherein we follow what others follow in the organization not knowing whether they abide to our personal values or not. In fact we ourselves do not know what our personal values are. It requires huge amount of capability and courage to apply those. Dissatisfaction in work place is nothing but the incongruence of such beliefs.
Winning organizations are deeply concerned about their values and they invest time and money in nurturing and aligning their employees’ personal values to the organizational ones. And such are the organizations that consider values as one of the competence while hiring. In the past too, there has been many instances of big organizations failing because of its culture.
While metrics is all that matters to reap business results, it has been proved by many value driven organizations that giving importance to culture building can actually yield positive bottom line results. But any intervention towards this way is based on the belief that an organization can build culture around its chosen values only if its employees see their part in creating and practicing those values. And such culture has to percolate from the top level of the organization. Value driven organizations characterized by effective working relationships and great leaders to guide definitely yields business sustainability.
The crux of the matter is.. Business of business need not always be business!!!
- Do You Really Hire Only ‘A’ Players? Indispensable Advice From a Self-Made Billionaire (forbes.com)
- What is Organizational Culture and how do you change it? (methodleadership.com)
- The Model Corporation: An Uplifting Organizational Culture (dissidentvoice.org)
- Peter Drucker vs. Sheryl Sandberg (forbes.com)