Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Work Culture


People working in an organization can be broadly categorized into three types: Work Ethics, Worth Ethics, and Leisure Ethics.
Those who believe in work ethics are people who value work and are happy when they are working. The ‘worth ethics’ are also ready to work provided they get something for their work. They are always afraid of being ‘exploited’-somebody getting more work from them than what they get from the work. The leisure ethics want to avoid work as much as they can.
Work ethics, worth ethics and leisure ethics are very important aspects in the working of an industrial organization and the way the organization functions depends on the relative proportion of these. In each organization all three types of people are there, but the proportions vary. What is more important: as the department head or unit head changes, the proportions change. This shows that people are not stationary, locked in their respective compartment forever. They can move from compartment to compartment provided something happens. We want to see what is that something that can happen which can push more and more people from leisure ethics and worth ethics. This can create ‘Work Culture’ in the organization.


Let us look at some typical pitfalls meeting face. The first pitfall is the ambiguity of agenda. Sometimes what the meeting is supposed to discuss is not clear. Formal or informal agenda is not circulated. As a result everybody comes with his own agenda in mind. In such meetings, there is chaos right at the beginning-or the meeting gets into chaos soon after the start. Many times there is a cross talk and an impression is created that several meetings are being held simultaneously. Now this is obviously the worst fate for a meeting.
The second pitfall is the tendency of some people to keep on talking. Everybody likes his own voice. Some people love their voices so much that they keep on talking –sometimes making the same point again and again. Unless the person conducting the meeting is able to control this, the meeting gets into a boring affair where everybody except the few people who keep on talking, lose interest in the meeting.
The third pitfall is the tendency of some people to go at a tangent to what is supposed to bne discussed at the meeting. Very soon the meeting gets into something very different from what the meeting was intended for. Another pitfall is the chairman of the meeting himself wanting to say a lot. Then the meeting turns out to be monologues on the part of the chairman and the rest of the members have no interest in the meeting.


A manager can succeed in promoting work culture if he himself has the work ethics image i.e. feeling that he is trying to achieve results not to get promotion for himself but because he believes that achieving those results is important for the organization.
Then he creates ‘stature’ to push ‘worth ethics’ (and even ‘leisure ethics’) towards work ethics. A person likes to be considered the boss’s man. Although he will criticize others are being ‘chamchas’(sycophants), he himself does not mind being considered the boss’s man and getting importance.
The work ethics group by itself is contagious and infectious. Not only they work hard, but they make people around them work hard through induction. However, the leisure ethics (and particularly the core of the leisure ethics) are also contagious and infectious and they go around pulling people away from work ethics.
The effective manger have top create a situation whereby this core of the leisure ethics is isolated and insulated. Through judicious transfers, people can be moved into corners of the organization where their influence will be minimized. This cannot be done overnight. But over a period, it would be possible to isolate and insulate this core of leisure ethics. This is of great advantage to the organization because this increases the infectiousness of the work ethics and more and more people get into the work ethics category. This is the method through which a ‘work culture’ is introduced in an organization. Everybody comes to work with a feeling that he has to achieve something today.


In this progress in the organization a manager has to pass through three gaps.
The first gap is knowledge gap. The knowledge that he has might be inadequate for the job he has to perform and he has to work towards beginning of the gap. When lacocca moved from marketing to be the chief executive of the mustang project, he had a severe knowledge of gap. Although he was an engineer by qualification, the job required depth in automobile engineering. He asked his two best subordinates to come to his office for one hour at the end of the office hours to teach him automobile engineering and in six months the gap was filled up.
Then the manager will face the talent gap. His ability for comprehension has to be equal to the retirement. This is where he can select subordinates and use colleagues, bosses and consultants to bridge the gap.
The most important gap he has to cover is the credibility gap. Confucius said 2500 years ago, ‘governments exist on three things: guns, rice and faith-the most important is faith’. Converted into modern management language: managers exist on three things-ability to punish, ability to reward and credibility. The most important is credibility. For this the manager has to depend on his personality development.


The basic approach is in three steps: the first is ‘hindsight’. Whenever we get into a problem of relationship, instead of blaming others, we have to sit back, look at ourselves and ask, ’How did I believe to contribute to this problem?’ However badly the person might behave, if our behavior can take care of some of the problems, we can still come out without a very high degree of dysfunctionality.
Take the example of the mother and the child. There are lots of transactions involving difference of opinion every day. However, most of the transactions end with a fair degree of satisfaction on both sides and this is essentially because the mother takes care of the adjustment that is required. When we have a dysfunctional communication, if we look back and think about the alternate scenario we could have used, that can improve us. But one cannot turn the clock back, whatever damage has been done, has been done.
The only thing to do is to see that the next time we communicate, we atleast get a ‘midsight’. With the midsight, while we are moving towards a dysfunctional communication, we realize that the communication is becoming dysfunctional and we try to steer it either to close or towards a functional communication.
The third situation arises when we get enough skill in understanding people. We can use ‘foresight’. As soon as we are approaching people, particularly people with whom we usually have difficulty, we can think with the foresight and ask which way we can approach the person so that our relationship we improves our relationship skills. If we do not improve our relationship skills, we get into the dysfunctional time options.


Sight is to register what you see. It is just nothing the incidents around you.
Insight is understanding significance of the incidents.
Foresight is predicting what is likely to happen in the future.
Oversight is avoiding distraction by minor matters to focus on the main tasks.
Hindsight is analyzing whatever has happened to convert it into experience. That is the most important baggage one has to carry to become successful

1 comment:

Saurabh Vora said...

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