We are all born for a reason, for a purpose “. This was something I was told by a friend and it was long forgotten until this day whose experience I would like to share.
Quitting on life a few years back was definitely not a very wise decision. But there comes a time in life when you want to fall back home to your folks , to people who’ll never judge you -to your parents. That is exactly what I did.
There I accompanied my mom to an annual function of an NGO run school, DISHA. The school catered to physically and financially underprivileged children who dreamed of a better future. I happened to ask a girl in her teens who was displaying her handmade item,” what do you aim to become? ” Hardly I knew that her reply would make me a completely new person. She said ” I want to become the District Manager of this district and ensure compulsory education for all who dream big. And will you help me kick start my dream?”
I had no clue how could I , in any way help her achieve this big yet noble ambition. I asked her how could I , possibly, be of any help. She said, ” Teach me ! ” .
I obviously didn’t see this coming and I , till date, cannot figure out what she really saw in me to think of me as her tutor.
My reply came straight from the heart and I spoke to the school administrator right away. I spent hours with her helping her in every subject. I stayed up nights preparing notes for her because she was slow at understanding the textbook English. I would make her read newspaper, books, articles and what not! I saw a great deal of change in her in just a few months. The change was not only in her knowledge but also in her confidence and body language.
An year passed and I had to discontinue teaching her for I was moving out. She had become a reason for my happiness. It ached to leave my happiness behind. Her dream was my aim now. But somethings are inevitable and so I moved on.
3years had passed and now couple of months back when I happened to visit that place again. Needless to say , I went to that school directly from the station just to know about her. As I walked across the corridor , I came across a notice board, with a few drawings of the drawing competition whose theme was , ” what makes me happy? ” . The drawing that stood out and that captured my attention was my sketch , drawn by the same girl. My eyes were filled with tears of joy and I had never been happier in my life . That day I knew, why was I born!!
We all struggle to be happy inside by doing things to our own self , but true happiness lies in being the reason for someone’s happiness.
Would you dress the same way to attend a chess tournament as you would to attend a football game? Although both are sporting events, there are a set of unwritten rules that dictate what is considered to be the acceptable way to dress for each type of event, and the people in attendance will send you signals as to whether or not they think you are dressed appropriately.
Members of a group convey social expectations by how they dress and act. Newcomers to the group are expected to learn what is acceptable to the group by observing the behavior and dress code of the group members and adapting to the situation accordingly.
So if one were to ask, what is organizational culture , I would say “It’s the way we do things around here.” It’s basically the way we perform tasks, solve problems, maintain relations, resolve conflicts, treat customers, and treat employees.
The unique personality of an organization is referred to as its culture. In groups of people who work together, organizational culture is an invisible but powerful force that influences the behavior of the members of that group.
Why is organizational culture important??
Organizational culture is difficult to observe or measure .It acts to reduce behavioral variability in organizations. So what is that makes it so important and an integral part of a workplace??
- Stability : It makes the organization more stable . An organization’s culture is often passed on from “generation” to “generation” creating a relatively high level of stability over time.
- Uniformity : It makes the organization more uniform to look at. The uniformity is not only in work practice but also in terms of people’s behavior. Whether it is a business organization, a club, community or nation, social systems need to limit certain behaviors.
- Emphasis on people : Companies that place a high value on this characteristic of organizational culture place a great deal of importance on how their decisions will affect the people in their organizations. For these companies, it is important to treat their employees with respect and dignity.
- Team work : Culture is a property of a group of people . So companies that work towards developing a healthy workplace give more importance to group activities and people in such organizations tend to have a positive relationship with their coworkers and managers.
While culture is important in any organization , it should be understood that the stability and uniformity does not lead to a rather stagnant environment over a period of time.
So how does it work??
A powerful person at the top, or a large enough group from anywhere in the organization, decides the old ways are not working, figures out a change in vision, starts acting differently, and enlists others to act differently. If the new actions produce better results, if the results are communicated and celebrated, and if they are not killed off by the old culture, new norms will form and new shared values will grow.
Here is a list of do’s and don’ts that one ought to follow while wanting to bring about a change in culture at workplace.
- Do come with a clear vision of where you want the organization to head.
- Do quickly develop and put in place new systems and processes that support and reinforce this vision of the future.
- Do introduce and consistently reinforce the values of continuous improvement.
- Do communicate horizontally in conversations and stories, not through top-down commands.
- Don’t start by reorganizing. First clarify the vision and put in place the management roles and systems that will reinforce the vision.
- Don’t parachute in a new team of top managers. Work with the existing managers and draw on people who share your vision.
My favourite example is that of Mr. Ratan Tata whose company acquires a unique culture that is rightly protected, nurtured and spread across, under the Tata umbrella.
He rightly puts it “ Culture is self imposed. Let the environment test you all the time but you should be prepared to do the right thing. That is a culture one should be proud of.”