A competitor can easily copy your products or design and make it as his own product with minor changes. Similarly, he can apply your ideas or business model to challenge your growth. Sometimes, he pulls out some of your employees with lucrative benefits. Out of all the above possibilities, one thing the competitor cannot copy or steal from your organization is its CULTURE.
Culture in any organization is characterized by its ideas, customs, and social behavior of employees and it drives the organization’s growth and distinguishes it from others. Japan has shown an exemplary example to the world that how culture leads to a national success. They have been very particular about respecting everyone, lead with humility and seek perfection in anything they do. Today they are the pioneer of major products and services within a short time since they came back from the unforgettable world war memories.
How they reinvented their wheel of success with their culture?
Developing culture in an organization is not an easy task. But it’s simple if we follow the principles. The principles are the following;
- Encourage Small (Daily) Improvements
- Following Ethics
- Institute Discipline
Encourage Small (Daily) Improvements:
We often aim for bigger results by doing major improvement projects. Management is also interested in focusing its time and energy in monitoring the big projects which ultimately leads to big results. No harm in doing that. However, one must understand that the success of the organization lies in the success of every team in every stage.
It means improvement must happen in top management level, mid management level and working level.
The improvements done in management level often missed out to involve the employees at the bottom stages. Working level improvements are left to supervisors or their managers.
A growth of a plant must take at root level so that the growth is assured at every part of the part. Improvements happening at workers level are nothing but improving the root of a plant. Even in any uncomfortable situation the improvements done at the root level will take hold of the entire organization to avoid major losses.
Alternatively, the daily habits of bringing small changes into the work will result in stunning results over the time. The power of consistently bringing out incremental changes cannot be overwhelmed by any other major improvements in the shop floor.
Business ethics is a core value of sustaining any business. Top management has a major role to play here. By showing their commitment in adhering to the organization’s policies they can exhibit a state of cultural ethics across the organization.
For example, A rail company in Japan has apologized after one of its trains departed 20 seconds early and a hotel apologized for the internet outage for ONE MINUTE at 4 am. A time when pretty much no one would be aware of such issues. But still, they apologized to show their core values of how well they treat their customers.
Such actions set an example to others in the organization.
The word “discipline” is from the Latin word disciplina meaning “instruction and training”. It’s derived from the root word discere — “to learn.” To bring discipline one must undergo continuous training and equipped with well-defined instructions to proceed with.
Training shall not be a onetime event instead it must be a consistent approach to impart knowledge by various means. For example, it can be supported with on-job learning, peers hand-holding and classroom training.
In addition, every workplace should be available with visual indications as a form of work instructions or standard operating procedure. An operating procedure shall be simple in terms of understanding and as much as possible it is to be visually exhibited. Because, an image is worth of thousand words.
Culture is something we cannot see in short term, but it will reap the long-term benefit once the principles are understood correctly and implemented it effectively.