By Goke Ilesanmi
It was early morning in one of my previous workplaces, a media house. Our receptionist called me on phone that somebody wanted to see me. I told her to tell the person to come in. To my astonishment, the man entered, greeted me and said he had actually not come to see me but the editor in charge of my section of the paper, a pullout. I told him I was the editor in charge of the section, but the man, a senior correspondent from another newspaper said he was not in the mood for any time-wasting. Then a colleague that knew the man came in at this time to see me, and called me “Editor”. At this point, my incredulous visitor asked if it was true that I was the editor in charge of the section he came to make inquiries about.
The surprise of my visitor resulted from the fact that I had approached him to help me get a media job in his company two years earlier when I was still lecturing at the polytechnic. So he now wondered how I would be the editor he had come to see two years later. Then my colleague that knew him now whispered something into his ear. He told him that I had been given quadruple promotion (from post one to five), that was why it was so. The man congratulated me. After, tears started rolling down his cheeks as he was shaking his head, telling me that he had been working for his company for 11 years. Yet, he had not been promoted to the post of a line editor which he preferred to huge money being paid to him. This shows individuality of motivation. He preferred a big official post, not huge pay nor the corporate culture of his firm.
Motivation is the key ingredient for success in any organisation. You can have all the technical skills in the world, but if you cannot motivate your team, it will be difficult to achieve success. Motivation has long been recognised as being vital to the fulfilment of human potential. It has never been so important, however, as in our current era of drastic social and technological change and the stress that necessarily results.
To motivate your team, one of the things you need to do is to find out the level of their motivation. According to Sykes, a human resource management expert, everyone has motivation. Your employees are motivated on some level. It is your job to find the level of their motivation and move them there. Understand what your employees are passionate about in their lives. Try to know their personal needs, what brings them joy or pain, what their short-term and long-term goals are, etc. By knowing these, you can motivate them.
According to Leah Eichler, founder of Femme-o-Nomics, a networking and content portal for professional women, as a society, we sometimes extol the virtues of soul-destroying corporate culture. In Eichler’s words, “Consider the movie The Devil Wears Prada, in which the glamour of working for Meryl’s Streep’s demanding character appeared to outweigh the suffering under her heartless tendencies. And in the initial pages of Greg Smith’s Why I left Goldman Sachs, he writes admiringly of the hazing-style meetings that often left interns in tears.”
Despite the attraction of a big job title reinforced with huge remuneration, especially in a challenging economy, experts suggest that there are several good reasons why we must not be carried away but should instead scrutinise the corporate culture of our target organisation. To reinforce this assertion, Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, co-authors of “How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know”, advise that we should accord corporate culture priority over huge pay and/or big post.
According to them, “Jobs can change. You can get a promotion, you can get moved to another section but the culture will not change. It will be consistent in one where there is a fit or there isn’t.” These authors submit that women want to work for a company that is right. That is, an organisation that honours “all the other parts of your life so you don’t need to pretend they don’t exist”.
Research shows that in the developed societies, unlike a few years ago, the question of finding a company that matches their values ranks high for many job applicants. Ms. Anushka Grant, a senior manager in client service quality at consulting firm Deloitte in Toronto, says the question of corporate culture is a now common issue in their recruitment process. In Grant’s words, “Just two weeks ago, I was interviewing a candidate and one of her first questions in her first interview was, How does the firm support work-life balance? What specific programmes exist?”
Corporate culture refers to the way of life of an organisation. The benefits of a strong corporate culture are massive. James Heskett educates that culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.” There are some common components of great cultures. These are vision, values, practices, people, etc. A great culture starts with a vision or mission statement.
A company’s values are the core of its culture. John Coleman, co-author of the book, “Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders” says while a vision articulates a company’s purpose, values offer a set of guidelines on the behaviour and mindset needed to achieve that vision. Values are of little importance unless they are enshrined in a company’s practices or actions. No company can build a coherent culture without people who either share its core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values.
Though a big post or huge pay is very important, corporate culture is more important when it comes to making a decision on enduring career path. Corporate culture is now regarded as a major tool for staying ahead of competition, especially that it is critical to being able to attract and retain top employees, the most potent competition assets.
Till we meet on Wednesday.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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