Being a speaker on culture transformation in the Philippines isn’t easy. For a keynote speech on building or developing an organizational culture for a popular microelectronics company based in Laguna, I did a couple of notes. These notes comprise my 60-minute keynote on shared culture and values.
Culture is endemic but the kind of culture we build is not, which means whether we like it or not, knowingly or not, we will surely have. Take the case of a manufacturing company in Laguna Techno-park, which unknowingly developed a culture of “kumpadre” and “kumare” thus losing some professional kind of respect and integrity at work, superiors taking sides based on who they are connected with. It was a chaotic and painful experience for everybody in the organization; it almost caused caused the company to and until today, they are still in the process of recovery.
The same company developed an abusive culture because of the company owner’s generosity. Members were demanding more than what they deserve to get, which is a big blow on the company’s financial health. It’s like taking the financial part hostage. What members don’t realize is they what they are taking hostage of their their own job security in a very foreseeable future.
Culture has the power to change the game.
A garment company I consulted to developed a culture of a one-man leadership, everything and anything goes through one person for nearly three decades. The result is a weak, disorganized, and fearful manpower and a boring system; nobody has the right to say anything; everybody was mum; there was no meeting, no team strengthening activities, no nothing purely work.
Thus, the company developed a culture of “no-care” or “why care?” We changed it and glad to know that they posted an incredible profit during the last quarter of 2009.
The world’s most valuable company, Apple, developed a culture of A-players; everyone was made to work and pushed to the limit to the point where many didn’t endure and left the company; the result is being the world’s most admired company.
The set of beliefs that people believe shapes the kind of culture they make together.
What culture would you want to develop for your group? A culture of excellence? Love? Care? Empowered human capital? Or a culture that is centered on one’s personal interest and ambition? Or a culture of neglect? Or “What’s-in-it-for-me?” Or “as long as they pay me, I work.”
Unfortunately, no amount of memos and posters can instill the kind of culture we make.
It is made as we do our individual works, every single day of our working week.
It is built through interactions, sharing, and engagements.
It is developed over a cup of coffee when your best friend a work is opening up something; culture is more personal than most intelligent people might admit.
It is mostly about our shared principles and views on life, on love, on professional careers.
The company I started in 2005, I was 23 years old, with literally no financial capital to start with coming from a middle class family with my father only driving a tricycle and my mother teaching in primary school has grown into a major player in personal development industry not only in the Philippines but also in Asia and the Middle East.
The culture of care; that’s all we have.
Something isn’t working? We care and make it work. Someone is having a hard time? We care and we support. We simply cared; we just wanted to do so.
From one company, we now have a total of seven companies in the last 6 years not because we are a group of intelligent people, we all have a share of its level; but because we care.
The values we share together defines our value as an organization.
We can live with a little, stay together, and still be happy about what we have; the same as when we get a huge deal.
We compromise our professional fees and service fees sometimes especially when we feel they are important to organizations who can’t afford us; but we never compromised our values and character.
We don’t live to please other people. We tell them what they don’t want to hear, which nobody has never told them upfront before; we don’t patronize our clients; we do what we must do even if it costs us a deal or cancellation of contract.
We only have a very limited time so we make sure we work with companies with almost the same values and character.
We don’t need much money; we need more partners to help make our world a better place
We have ambitions, too. But they are legitimate ambitions; ambitions become legitimate when it is designed to serve the many instead of the few.
The challenge to develop a culture is both hard and easy depending on how you look at it. Some may find it hard to share the vision or mission because probably it’s not part of who they are and they don’t see themselves fit in the picture. Some may find it easy because it’s really their direction anyway.
How you set a standard among your ranks will define the very destiny you’ll all share in the future. And that your successors will have to live by before they so decide to change it, again.