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  • Matthieu Pinauldt 9:00 am on August 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , corporate culture, , ,   

    [INFOGRAPHIC] An Enterprise Social Network to align your corporate culture 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    All companies need to have a strong corporate culture recognized by its employees. Discover how an Enterprise Social Network can help you to install a shared culture in your organization and its benefits.

    Matthieu Pinauldt (@mattpinauldt) is Marketing Manager at Zyncro Francia. After several experiences in major enterprises and becoming a business owner, he joined the Zyncro team to help develop the brand internationally. With a Master’s degree in Technology and Innovation Management from the Université Paris Dauphine, in conjunction with ENS Cachan and Mines Paritech, he specializes in Social Networks and issues linked with innovation.


     
  • María Teresa Farfán 9:00 am on May 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: corporate culture, , , ,   

    Improve your organizational culture in 8 steps 

    Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

    Organization culture is the values, habits, traditions, feelings, etc. that certain groups share within the organization and represents the unwritten rules that guide employees’ daily behavior.

    If the organizational culture is aligned with the objectives, it can help to achieve these objectives more efficiently and effectively. For this, it is important to take the culture into account when measuring or planning business objectives.

    The organizational culture is the face of the company, comprised of basic elements:

    – Shared values and beliefs. Affirmations of what is right and wrong in the organization and the consequences that the actions of each element making up the organization have. They define the expected behavior and are shared by most members.
    – Own identity. The way in which employees identify themselves, providing them a specificity, identity and coherence towards the outside.
    – Persistence. Although it evolves constantly, it is resistant to brusque changes.

    Apart from these basic elements, there are differences between the culture in each organization in which each individual has a certain level of responsibility, freedom or even independence to assume risks or that ensures innovation, taking into account the number and quantity of rules with which employees’ behavior is governed.

    Each organization also differs due to the level of identification of its members with other members and how they relate to each other. Is there any favoritism? In terms of the services, is there any discrimination? Are employees perceived to be honest and hard-working? Do employees communicate among themselves? What is the customer service like? And even, what is projected from the employees when you enter the company’s buildings?

    If you want to improve the organizational culture, there are a number of basic points for achieving it:

    1. Answer basic questions. What culture would you like there to be in your company? How do you want the company to be seen by others? How would you like employees to interact among themselves? These are the questions that you need to answer to know what direction to take.

    2. Ask your own employees What would they improve in the company? How would they like to be seen? What would make them feel at ease? Take into account the comments they share with you.

    3. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Many people are afraid of change and probably will oppose any reformist ideas you present. Don’t pay too much importance to them and let the change flow.

    4. Plan. All changes need a plan of action; find or create a plan that best suits your requirements and find a way to get the most out of it.

    5. Act. Don’t waste time and get the plans rolling; if they don’t turn out like you planned, change the direction and put it into motion. Don’t be afraid of errors and let you and your team leave the comfort zone.

    6. Communicate. Since you have taken the opinions of your team into account, communicate the actions to be taken to them and allow them to digest the changes.

    7. Be patient. Don’t expect them to get used to it in a day, don’t seek radical changes in a short time either. Gradually you will start to see the difference without having to pressurize.

    8. Be the example. You can’t ask your employees to be honest and encompassing if you and the other executives in your company aren’t. Lead by example and behave in the way you want “your company” to behave.

    Ma. Teresa Farfán (@MomBita) is a psychologist graduate from UNAM, with experience in practising psychology both publically and privately in which she seeks an ethical practice and in favor of improving the quality of life and ensuring an integral experience of those with whom she works, be it individuals or companies, looking for teamwork, professionalization, and standardization She has experience in the area of culture, organizational communication, consumer and sales psychology. She participates actively in social undertakings such as Átomo Educativo and is co-founder of khÜn Psicología, a company that seeks to bring psychology to companies and individuals with a multi-disciplinary approach.

     
  • Pablo Fuentes 9:00 am on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , corporate culture, ,   

    Four keys for managing corporate culture 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Martin, an employee like any other, inspected the promotional gift (merchandising) HR had left on his desk indifferently. This time it was a T-shirt blazed with “Our Vision and Our Goals”. A few weeks ago, it was a stress ball pimped with “Our values”. Martin didn’t know who he would give this one to.

    Corporate culture, thought Martin. Two words in furor in companies these days which are frequently forgotten in a browser tab or on posters no one sees. Yet there are companies that know how to manage corporate culture, that are successful and competitive.

    So what are the keys that make Corporate Culture in capitals stand out from a mere internal marketing campaign (endomarketing)? Martin checked out the relatoscorporativos.com blog and found the response, four keys for managing corporate culture:

    1. A clear, measurable vision: defining with clarity who we are, what we do and how we will be competitive and profitable in a sustainable way. This vision is based on a mission with specific strategies and goals, which are, of course, communicated with clarity both within and outside the company.

    2. A solid leadership: Sumantra Ghoshal’s quote stays with me: “You can’t manage third generation strategies with second generation organizations and first generation managers.” It is so important to have bosses that listen, delegate, demand, recognize and that help their teams grow. I’m lucky to know leaders like that, like my current boss, nothing like the corporate tyrant opportunists.

    3. A competitive and committed team: People who make the vision theirs and that act towards achieving the objectives. Here I should mention Gary Hamel and his concept of Management 2.0. He maintains that successful companies opt for a new style of control, with natural hierarchies based on trust and leadership. Organizations where employees have more independence and access to information, thus encouraging their creativity.

    4. Going from discourse to the facts: It is crucial to consolidate the corporate culture as we progress, communicating the milestones internally and externally and celebrating them as appropriate. A campaign of the facts, of achievements is an excellent way to value our corporate culture, generating credibility and affinity within and outside the company.

    Martin, good luck.

    Pablo Fuentes is internal communication manager at Telefónica Latin America. On his blog relatoscorporativos.com, you’ll find the best strategies and ideas for implementing communication 2.0 systems, as well as the latest trends in corporate communication.

     

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , corporate culture, , ,   

    The Five People Your Business Really Needs to Make Engagement Stick 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we have the pleasure of presenting a new Zyncro Blog author: Chris Preston, a navigator of the corporate culture, spends most of his time working with interesting companies that create a wealth of stories, anecdotes and cautionary tales. Chris describes himself as a natural Storyteller, but a terrible Strategist – so the blogs should be good, but probably late. Welcome Chris! :)

    Over the last two years Jane Sparrow and I researched content for a recently released book, The Culture Builders. In doing so, we uncovered the five people you really want in your organisation if you are to make engagement, work, stick and pay dividends.

    The examples we heard, from companies large and small, showed us how great engagers (be they leaders or first-line managers) are adept at inhabiting five roles as they look to move the workforce from caring about the business, to being passionate about it – a difference we term ‘savers and investors’. An organisation full of investors (and they do exist) can achieve amazing things and delight and move their customers way beyond the ‘OK’ mark.

    We use the phrase Investor to describe the levels of commitment, involvement and ownership that people feel and demonstrate when they genuinely feel part of an organisation. The five roles get them there – steering, challenging, talking, doing and inspiring.

    So, I guess the question you’re asking is, ‘who are they… and how do I get them?’… Meet the Culture Builders:

    • The Prophet: the one with the vision for the future, forward looking, inspirationally overflowing. This role is all about what’s over the horizon, and we should all be aiming to get there (the past’s a forgotten place).
    • The Storyteller: bringing the journey to life, uses rich language to localise the vision and help people bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going.
    • The Strategist: keeping it all on track, aligning actions and people with the goal, ensuring ‘it’s for the long term’. Driving consistency of behaviour and longevity of an initiative to ensure a successful outcome.
    • The Coach: Knowing what makes the heart ‘beat’ of the people in their team, and using that knowledge to engage them fully in the activity, to use the engagement process to grow and challenge them, constantly thinking how.

    These first four are what we term the ‘type’ roles, and describe the ways in which we go about engaging the wider organisation. We know from research that there is a preference for the first one, closely followed by the Storyteller. It’s the Strategist that is the least prevalent in managers and leaders – opening up a whole host of issues around longevity of actions and cost for projects (I’ll talk more about this in future blogs).

    The final role is what we term the ‘style’ role, and focuses more on the personal approaches that a leader of people will rely upon:

    • The Pilot: The person with their hand on the tiller, the calm, firm voice in times of change – a style that colours how the person delivers the four ‘type’ roles and steers teams to act and develop in very different ways (we break this role down into three areas: Authoritative, Inclusive and Enabling).

    I firmly believe that these five roles are made, not born in people, and can be attained by focus, effort and determination. Like many areas of leadership theory, the first step is always going to be recognition of what the situation requires and understanding how you personally get there.

    Interestingly, the really high performing individuals that we met did not possess all five in high levels. Rather they had a balance in the four type roles (so either Prophet or Storyteller high, and either Strategist or Coach high). In terms of the Pilot, those that are highly inclusive are seen to do the best in engagement terms.

    So that’s a quick jaunt through the book’s main thinking. In future blogs I hope to move beyond it, and look more widely at how areas such as trust, dialogue and the corporate environment all build or detract Investors in our organisations. Let me know your thoughts, and what you’d like me to expand on – culture’s a whole world in itself!

     
  • Matthieu Pinauldt 9:00 am on September 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: corporate culture, , , ,   

    Taking advantage of the crisis to evolve towards a new business model: Enterprise 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    In periods of stability, many workers settle into a routine in work. This routine as a rule is accepted by both among organization employees and directors, as apparently this enables them to optimize repetitive tasks and make efficiency highly predictable. Over the long term, however, it leads to favoring individual work, becomes a source of demotivation and halts creativity. But when the routine is anchored to the business dynamic, making changes is complex.

    In times of crisis, objectives are more difficult to achieve. The efficiency evident in routines no longer seems to work, redundant tasks become a chore, and motivation evaporates. The comfort of the routine disappears to give way to the desire for change that can be felt throughout the organization. It is time to break away from the routine!

    At crunch periods, communication becomes a key aspect for reassuring and preventing teams from being faced with problems. Communication must be fluid and capable of answering employees’ concerns before those rumors start to become bigger than the problem itself (remember scandals like a oil spill in Louisana or the failure in communication terms of the Japanese government in dealing with the Fukushima disaster). To make this possible, we need to be capable of listening!

    Collaboration is one of the trump cards in the hands of those managing the organization to continue with a policy of innovation, especially in a period of limited means due to the crisis. We need to prioritize collective knowledge and teamwork!

    Evolving towards the Enterprise 2.0 is the best means for escaping from a difficult period:

    • Structural and cultural changes are a true company project in which all employees and especially top levels need to be involved. The project unifies the company, showing that there is a vision for the organization in the long term.
    • There are greater chances that employees will take to changes more easily than in periods of prosperity: Natural resistance to change tends to dwindle as traditional models no longer work.
    • Communication processes improve and answer the needs of the company, evolving in an increasingly competitive market (see the infographic on the ROI in collaboration projects).
    • Members of the company find satisfaction in their jobs once again. Although the transitition towards a collaborative mindset temporarily disturbs employees, the exchange and communication associated with change notably increases motivation.

    Implementing a collaborative culture in your organization can start to help employees to emerge from that vicious cycle of a lack of motivation typical of periods of crisis. The benefits of business productivity increase within a short time (McKinsey gives figures of between 20 and 25%). The Enterprise Social Network Zyncro is the ideal tool for accompanying you and your company in that cultural change, and making that change stick. Try it for yourself!

     

     
  • Sonia R Muriel 9:00 am on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: corporate culture, , ,   

    Managing fear in companies 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today at Zyncro, we have the honor of welcoming a new blog contributor, Sonia Rodríguez Muriel. Passionate about HR, she is HR and media director at the Andalusian Agency for Innovation and Development IDEA. Her personal blog, which we highly recommend at Zyncro, is as she says “an open space dedicated to reflection on issues associated with people management, incorrectly called Human Resources.” Thanks for joining Zyncro’s team of bloggers, Sonia. Welcome 😉

    If we think about one of the words we have heard most in recent months, regardless of the context, I’m sure it would be: FEAR.

    People who work in business have many fears, which is nothing strange, especially given the harmful messages that some politicians dish out as if nothing, the headlines and photos that make the front pages on a daily basis or the images that are shown all too often on the TV.

    Fear of losing jobs, fear of downsizing, fear of not getting the next paycheck, fear of a merger, fear of the company’s uncertain future, fear of failure, fear of salary drops, fear of restructurizations… FEAR.

    What attitude does the company’s general management adopt in this situation? Does it add fuel to the fire or does it make an effort to build confidence and trust among its employees when they are afraid?

     

    Fear has been used as a mechanism for control and social domination for a long time. We have lived so many centuries in a culture of fear and with a system of absolute iron control in companies that now it is hard to break. On some occasions, there isn’t even any intention whatsoever to do away with this obsolete model.

    Fear blocks, paralyzes, rules out creativity, prevents growth in an organization and in professional development. Fear generates insecurity; we see the environment as being more aggressive and causes us to enter into a dangerous dynamic: a downward spiral of fear. Fear builds other new worries and they start to grow indefinitely, leading us away from where we can be constructive and face our own fears and break the spiral. As Sophocles said: “To him who is in fear everything rustles”.

    The figure of the toxic coward in every company is no help either. They are people who find someone to share and reinforce their fears and flee from the optimist, preferring to adopt a critical and/or defeatist attitude, and who need to be surrounded by likeminded people. Unconsciously, they seek out bad news, rumors and new fears. For others, it is easy to be swayed by these negative emotions rather than be affected by someone who sees life with a more positive attitude. The paradoxical situation may even arise where someone who is fearless, proactive and dynamic becomes threatened by the toxic coward. What’s more, if the coward is a director or a middle manager, their harmful influence on the work environment is multiplied by 100.

    If our excuse to allowing ourselves be dominated by fear is that it is impossible to take a different attitude in the current socioeconomic context, I encourage you to seek out experiences where worse situations have been overcome. A good example of this can be seen in “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist of Jewish origin who had a promising career. When the Nazi threat was more than evident, he obtained a visa to emigrate to the United States with his pregnant wife to continue working there. But Frankl let this visa expire, as he did not want to abandon his parents. Shortly after, the entire family was taken to a concentration camp and among other unpleasant incidents, the manuscript containing his work was destroyed.

    He survived his experience in the concentration camp, overcoming the idea of his own suicide several times to see how pessimism in the other prisoners brought them to self-abandonment and finally death. After feeling defeated on several occasions, he was capable of remembering his work, finding meaning to life, and when he was released, he was able to rebuild his career with much effort, despite the loss of all his loved ones and his traumatic experience.

    For Viktor Frankl, “life deserves to be lived beyond the circumstances and the inability to discover the meaning of our existence is what brings Man to lose inner balance and hence, to bring him to desperation.”

    Returning to the laboral front again, it is evident that we need help in not letting ourselves be overcome by fear and seeing the current situation as an opportunity and not a threat. As Pilar Jerico says in her fantastic book No miedo (NoFear), “only those who have power can generate fear”, so creating an atmosphere of confidence and undoing a management based on fear is the responsibility of the company’s leadership. It is one that should be worked to include emotionally intelligent leaders who make their teams grow and generate confidence and trust, the key to fighting fear.

    Uncertainty can be a danger in a company! Those who believe information is power can cause more harm than good. Organizations are porous so it is unlikely that the information that management doesn’t want to share stays completely within their grasp. The worse thing is when it reaches lower levels in the organization, the message has little to do with the original one and has deteriorated even further.

    The greatest challenge for companies at present is to manage, generating confidence and trust to reduce growing fears, and above all, to not create new ones. To do this, it is essential to develop a corporate culture that doesn’t punish error and encourages employees to innovate, share and take risks, that promotes talent and people on a human and emotional level. To achieve this, it is paramount to find the right motivation for employees and to leave behind management by control mechanisms once and for all, adopting a new model of collaboration.

    Once again internal communication becomes the cornerstone. The language that the company’s management uses when speaking with their employees; a lack of communication, coherence between discourse and behavior, and the insecurity that it generates only feeds fear in the organization and creates new worries.

    Corporate social responsibility, as in vogue as it is in recent years, means the company is responsible for, among other questions, maintaining a healthy, safe working environment and the physical and psychological wellbeing of its workers.

    Management plays a fundamental role and the type of leadership it uses or promotes will depend largely on the work environment .

    But if this argument isn’t convincing enough for some CEOs, maybe we should talk about the financial side of things. The working environment is a factor that has a major effect on productivity in the organization. Employees can’t give their best if they are not committed and without confidence and trust, there cannot be commitment.

    If we want to have employees committed to the organization, we need to establish open, transparent dialog with them to win their credibility. And reinforce that credibility with the rest of the company’s policies.

    Being a good professional is conditioned by the working environment and we are all responsible for generating a positive atmosphere, regardless of what our position is. Our mood infects our colleagues and co-workers, so why not think about what we are really transmitting to others?

    “Under the influence of fear, which always leads men to take a pessimistic view of things, they magnified their enemies resources, and minimized their own.”

    Titus Livius

     

     
  • ZyncroBlog 9:00 am on June 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: corporate culture, ,   

    8 Rules for Creating a Passionate Work Culture 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    Editor’s note: The article we have for you today is by Paul Alofs, President and CEO of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Toronto, one of the leading hospitals in the world in cancer research. He is also author of the book Passion Capital. Leading a foundation of such characteristics has given him an unequalled passion for work that he transmits in the post you can read here today on ZyncroBlog, a passion for the work we share and that can be transferred to any organization. Thanks for sharing your passion with us and our readers, Paul!

    Several years ago I was in the Thomson Building in Toronto. I went down the hall to the small kitchen to get myself a cup of coffee. Ken Thomson was there, making himself some instant soup. At the time, he was the ninth-richest man in the world, worth approximately $19.6 billion. Enough, certainly, to afford a nice lunch. I looked at the soup he was stirring. “It suits me just fine,” he said, smiling.

    Thomson understood value. Neighbors reported seeing him leave his local grocery story with jumbo packages of tissues that were on sale. He bought off-the-rack suits and had his old shoes resoled. Yet he had no difficulty paying almost $76 million for a painting, (for Peter Paul Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents in 2002). He sought value, whether it was in business, art, or groceries.

    In 1976, Thomson inherited a $500-million business empire that was built on newspapers, publishing, travel agencies, and oil. By the time he died, in 2006, his empire had grown to $25 billion.

    He left both a financial legacy and an art legacy, but his most lasting legacy might be the culture he created. Geoffrey Beattie, who worked closely with him, said that Ken wasn’t a business genius. His success came from being a principled investor and from surrounding himself with good people and staying loyal to them. In return he earned their loyalty.

    For the long-term viability of any enterprise, Thomson understood that you needed a viable corporate culture. It, too, had to be long-term. So he cultivated good people and kept them. Thomson worked with honest and competent business managers and gave them his long-term commitment and support. From these modest principles, an empire grew.

    Thomson created a culture that extended out from him and has lived after him. Here are eight rules for creating the right conditions for a culture that reflects your creed:

    1. Hire the right people

    Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There is no shortage of impressive CVs out there, but you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You don’t want to be simply a stepping stone on an employee’s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.

    2. Communicate

    Once you have the right people, you need to sit down regularly with them and discuss what is going well and what isn’t. It’s critical to take note of your victories, but it’s just as important to analyze your losses. A fertile culture is one that recognizes when things don’t work and adjusts to rectify the problem. As well, people need to feel safe and trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.

    The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. It’s also important to listen to what’s happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on?

    3. Tend to the weeds

    A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. One of the most destructive corporate weeds is the whiner. Whiners aren’t necessarily public with their complaints. They don’t stand up in meetings and articulate everything they think is wrong with the company. Instead, they move through the organization, speaking privately, sowing doubt, strangling passion. Sometimes this is simply the nature of the beast: they whined at their last job and will whine at the next. Sometimes these people simply aren’t a good fit. Your passion isn’t theirs. Constructive criticism is healthy, but relentless complaining is toxic. Identify these people and replace them.

    4. Work hard, play hard

    To obtain passion capital requires a work ethic. It’s easy to do what you love. In the global economy we can measure who has a superior work ethic, who is leading in productivity. Not many industries these days thrive on a forty-hour work week. A culture where everyone understands that long hours are sometimes required will work if this sacrifice is recognized and rewarded.

    5. Be ambitious

    “Make no little plans: they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” These words were uttered by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect whose vision recreated the city after the great fire of 1871. The result of his ambition is an extraordinary American city that still has the magic to stir men’s blood. Ambition is sometimes seen as a negative these days, but without it we would stagnate. You need a culture that supports big steps and powerful beliefs. You can see these qualities in cities that have transformed themselves. Cities are the most visible examples of successful and failed cultures. Bilbao and Barcelona did so and became the envy of the world and prime tourist destinations. Pittsburgh reinvented itself when the steel industry withered. But Detroit wasn’t able to do the same when the auto industry took a dive.

    6. Celebrate differences

    When choosing students for a program, most universities consider more than just marks. If you had a dozen straight-A students who were from the same socio-economic background and the same geographical area, you might not get much in the way of interesting debate or interaction. Great cultures are built on a diversity of background, experience, and interests. These differences generate energy, which is critical to any enterprise.

    7. Create the space

    Years ago, scientists working in laboratories were often in underground bunkers and rarely saw their colleagues; secrecy was prized. Now innovation is prized. In cutting-edge research and academic buildings, architects try to promote as much interaction as possible. They design spaces where people from different disciplines will come together, whether in workspace or in common leisure space. Their reasoning is simple: it is this interaction that helps breed revolutionary ideas. Creative and engineering chat over coffee. HR and marketing bump into one another in the fitness center. Culture is made in the physical space. Look at your space and ask, “Does it promote interaction and connectivity?”

    8. Take the long view

    If your culture is dependent on this quarter’s earnings or this month’s sales targets, then it is handicapped by short-term thinking. Passion capitalists take the long view. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in five years. The culture needs to look ahead, not just in months but in years and even decades. Lasting influence is better than a burst of fame. Keep an eye on the long view.


     
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