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Understanding Culture

A good foundation is critical for entrepreneurs to succeed as they start with their enterprise. As is the current general practice, the business plans do not include values, ethics and culture to be followed by the enterprise. The bigger focus is on how to break even and then start making profits. There is nothing wrong with this approach, except the fact that it is short-sighted. Enterprise will not be able to scale up till the culture is also defined, as it paves the path for future employees to walk on.

Let us understand about culture. What is it?

It is the way we do things.

The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or organisation or society is known as Culture. But people forget that the same culture is defined in biology as – “maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth”. This means there is a connection in our culture and our growth.

Culture is our identity, our root and it existed before we came in the picture. It is the identity that we inherited by being born in or joining a race, a country, an organisation or a society. All said and done, culture defines us.

This is the culture the entrepreneur has to decide and define at the time of inception. She has to be clear in her mind, as how the company will be run from a “value” point of view. She will need to stick to it, if she wants the future employees of the company to keep on maintaining the culture initiated by her.

Like an individual, organizations also take the culture of their founders and their values. When more people join the company, it is likely that the culture gets diluted, if the newcomers are not reminded about the founders’ values. It can sustain only when everyone adheres to the same set of culture.

Hence, if we want to retain our culture, we need to keep remembering it and reminding the employees of the same. In Unity is the strength and in being united by a common culture one feels cared and protected. One feel rooted, strong, without any fear and hence, gives their best in whatever they do. Organizations can benefit from this concept, if they build and sustain its unique culture.

I am sure all of you will agree if I say that people who respect and care about each other, will go out of the way to help each other in times of need.

How culture helps in the growth of a company?

Let us try to understand how a company grows. The company feels a need of its product/service in the society, and the wherewithal to produce the same at competitive rates. The enterprise will need financial and technical capabilities to begin with, and of course, logistics and other support services to place their product/services in the market place.

If we compare two similar companies with ALL similar capabilities, the company with more sincere employees will have a better productivity rate and hence, higher profit. This has been proven time and gain by many business research including leading organizations like Harvard Business Review.

Now, let us try to understand why and how an employee becomes sincere? Employees have needs, in line with Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. Based on the level of hierarchy an employee is on, different employees will have different types of needs. If the company’s culture and values keep this aspect in their mind, the chances of employees being sincere in that organisation becomes high.

Unless this aspect is present in the mind of the entrepreneur, right at the time of inception of the enterprise, it becomes difficult for the enterprises to have a solid foundation, on which larger establishments can be built.

What is needed to be done?

Hence, an entrepreneur needs to understand and define their What, How and Why of their enterprise right in the beginning. Failure to do so will make the life of the entrepreneur and the employees stressful subsequently.

The what, how and why will define the mission, vision and the DNA of the enterprise, which are extremely important for the enterprises to get into the infinite game of business. (Additional reading: The Infinite Game book by Simon Sinek)

It is advised to the entrepreneurs to search and finalize what is their value system. There is nothing wrong in profit making. Businesses are meant to do that for their shareholders. But Money being the only value can take the enterprise to wrong and illegal pursuits, which are definitely not good in the long run.

The values, on which the life should be run, is known to everybody alive through their ancestors and spiritual teachings. We just need to pick some and inculcate that into the organisation, so that everyone follows the same value. But a small warning, here. People who join the company as employees, have their own value system inbuilt already. It is the task of the entrepreneur to integrate these two different value systems for the combined growth of both the enterprise and the employees.

Follow Business Culture Club for more tips and learning material on all thing’s organisation culture.

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