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Lighthouse - July, 2018.

BUSINESS WITH HUMANITY IN MIND


Global enterprises interact across many cultures and social environments. The diversity of these, where communities are either reasonably rich, impoverished, exploited or inadequately recompensed for their services; has led to calls for businesses to conduct themselves with humanity in mind.
For such businesses ‘humanity in mind’ is not a mantra but a core value. It means thinking about the bigger picture within a company and how the decisions it makes may affect their employees and the communities in which they operate. It is a desire to do something for humanity which has led to persons like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi and Sheryl Sandberg becoming internationally known philanthropists. They use a significant total of their income to help others less fortunate. They also recognise that it is their staff that deserves special consideration for their contribution to a company’s success. Of course, there will be those who ask; “Why should we bother about humanity, I am happy just making money for myself?” However, research confirms that when staff is valued from the top down and when a company actively engages within the communities where it operates, then the bounce-back goodwill is worth its weight in gold.
Many services and products have become ever more comparable and interchangeable. Clients now have more choice because the internet means they are better informed and consequently are no longer necessarily loyal to companies, brands or services. They may be satisfied with a product but nowadays it requires more than just satisfaction – it requires meaningful interaction and a ‘we like your company’s attitude and approach better than others’, to maximise customer retention.
Doug Conant, an internationally renowned business leader with over 40 years leadership experience with companies including Nabisco, Campbell Soups and Avon Products, highlighted how business with humanity in mind starts: – ‘To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace’. When leaders go with what they feel is right, being true to themselves and only treating others as they would like to be treated; then humanity starts cascading down. However, wherever we find ourselves in this chain there is one thing that frequently halts the process. It’s our own egos! Once we start to think it is important that others recognise that we are important then our ability to build positive relationships is soon frustrated. Putting aside our egos, and focusing on how we may help others develop, means that all of us may grow together. It’s currently known as ‘giving back’. Often, it’s the little spark, a magic moment that starts someone on the path to success. Be it within a company, or an interaction between a company and a community; a catalyst for good carries its own inherent rewards. Where a company, a leader, a team or even a single salesperson are known to encourage others and think about how they can help; the ‘we like your company’ attribute soars.
Equally the same applies when ‘giving back’ includes interacting with communities. Starbucks, the American coffeehouse chain, was founded in Washington in 1971. It now operates in 28,218 locations worldwide. Their ‘Meet Me at Starbucks’ campaign was an exceptional method to involve communities enjoying the experience of getting together in a Starbucks café all around the world. It showed how it could adapt to regional cultures, whilst offering the guarantee of a recognised quality brand served by staff focused on their regional environment. So, everyone is happy because they are being recognised for who they are, where they are and in a way that connects the company with their individual experience.
No matter what the size of an organisation the bottom line, when it comes to ‘business with humanity in mind’, is that everyone within a company equally from the leaders downwards, provides opportunities for others to flourish as individuals. At the same time humanity requires we seek out those, within a community, who may benefit from a little help. Random acts of kindness go a long way especially if given from the heart. Receiving smiles from others, as you conduct your business, is great recognition that you are succeeding in putting humanity into your business. It also means that your brand is honestly endeavouring to give something back – this really is operating your business with humanity in mind


CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE


When it comes to organisation culture, it really becomes difficult to define and explain. It is complicated, generally misunderstood and hard to change.
There are lot of writings on building the culture of organisation and moving on to excellence. Words cannot weave excellence. It is something like fragrance. You can feel it. It’s presence in the environment of the organisation can be felt through demonstrative passion, attitude and mindset of employees while discharging their functions. Excellence is something more than perfection. Stakeholders, be it internal or the external, get delighted when enter in the zone of the organisation having culture of excellence.
It is a myth that talent alone can bring excellence in the culture of organisation. Talent also brings hidden arrogance. It is not necessary that talent is always embedded with mindset to excel. It is desire to excel in a person that makes him performing with excellence. It is something like that one is smoking addict and he has to stop and leave smoking. Why efforts of bringing excellence in organisation culture failed many times are because of the fact that very few leaders of organisation purposely work on developing culture of excellence. They just kind of let it happen.
You cannot handoff this sensitive matter to anyone. Making the changes that lead to excellence is not an overnight pursuit-it is cumbersome, psychologically tough and long process. It is mistaken that attractive workplaces, weekend parties and get together, outbound adventure training in the name of team building and motivation create workplace culture of excellence.
None of these initiatives work if there is an element of disrespect, mistrust and achieving results by bulldozing the human dignity. What people prefer who have desire to excel at workplace is authenticity, trust, transparency in dealings and commitment to employees growth and well being along with organisation’s prosperity. Managers at all levels who are only functional experts in their domain should also be developed as organisation development experts. It will make easy for the business leaders to get the culture of excellence accepted at the root level.

CHANGES WILL IT BRING IN THE ATTITUDE OF THE WORK FORCE

1. An Organizational Vision is Communicated and Understood
To achieve a Culture of Excellence, every employee must understand not only the company’s vision, but also know their own roles, responsibilities and the specific actions they need to take in order to help achieve this vision.

2. Clear Purpose and Meaning
In a Culture of Excellence, employees feel that what they are working on is meaningful, significant, and purpose-based.

3. Focus on High Performers
Many managers actually empower their low performers by focusing their time and energy on trying to solve their problems—while ignoring their high performers. Those high performers leave because they aren’t being rewarded for their hard work.
Companies with a Culture of Excellence set an expectation of high performance organization-wide. Every employee is supported and encouraged to become a master in their role and area of expertise. High performers are nurtured, rewarded, mentored and recognized, and average performers are coached to move into the high performance category.

4. Change and Challenges
In most organizations, when change or challenges occur, employees become distracted and lose focus on the organizational vision and goals.
In a Culture of Excellence, employees develop the flexibility and resilience to deal with change, challenge and uncertainty. Even when there are obstacles and challenges that may seem impossible to overcome, the motivation to achieve the organizational vision is higher than the urge to avoid the discomfort. Managers support their teams in staying focused and on track, despite difficulties and challenges.

5. Collaborative Teams
A key feature of a Culture of Excellence is collaborative teams. Because every employee and all teams are working together toward a common organizational vision, they feel they are on the same side. And because this collaboration is encouraged and rewarded from the top down, there is no more reason to protect individual roles, projects or expertise.

6. Rewards and Recognition
HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE CULTURAL EXCELLENCE?

  • Promote a positive and happy environment.
  • Giving effective feedback
  • Clear & Consistent Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Growth Opportunities
  • Know your customer
  • Keep employees comfortable
  • Plan your action

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