Is Corporate Culture Abstract?

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In a business organization, culture is synonymous with corporate or company culture. It refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. It is somewhat like ‘the operating system’ of the organization. It guides how employees think, act and feel. As such, corporate culture is an essential component in any business’s ultimate success or failure.

Culture as a Socially Learned Systems

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Despite the diversity of cultural perspectives, one thing is common with regard to culture: culture is a socially-learned system in society or social organization, not a natural and biologically-determined reality. Thus, if culture is a socially learned system, then it can be changed and unlearned. It’s not fixed and immutable as many thought it to be. In fact, with the current globalization age, corporate cultures in the world are changing so fast because of cultural diffusion brought about by the transnational operation of a business, merger, acquisition, outsourcing, and networking of companies or multinational corporations. The major issue, therefore, is not whether a culture can be changed or not, but whether the person or group who wants to change it, particularly a toxic culture, has sufficient resource, influence, and political will to effect the intended change. Take note that culture change in a business organization can originate from the top with business owners and top managers initiating the change, or from below with organized groups or workers initiating the change. In the case of a merger, the change can come from an outside force, especially if the mother company is much bigger than the acquired firm.

Corporate Culture as a Lived Experience

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Corporate culture is, therefore, a lived experience. It affects both the cognitive and material or behavioral aspects of people’s lives. It affects the workers’ social and economic life in the firm. If the firm, for instance, often delays the release of salaries due to bad management, the rank-and-file employees and their families would literally starve. Or if the firm does not provide skills training or career development for its employees and managers, the company’s productivity and brand can be affected. The point here is: Culture is not just an abstract reality, but, above all, a lived reality that affects all the members of a corporate community.

Three Persons Sitting on the Stairs Talking With Each Other

As a lived experience, corporate culture is experiential. Its totality could not be described on paper since it is the entire way of life of a particular business organization. It can only be fully understood and felt by people if they are immersed in it, participating in its day-to-day activities for a considerable period of time. Once people become regular members of the company as employees or managers and actively interacting with people, structures, and rules, they would soon discover the firm’s basic cultural patterns.  Thus, people could not fully understand and appreciate the generosity of Google’s corporate culture to its employees and managers if they are not part of the internal culture of the company.

This internal view of the corporate life by insiders is what anthropologists call as the emic perspective (insider’s view). Job seekers who do not have any idea of the inner workings of the internal culture of the hiring company may soon be discouraged or shocked if they discover as new employees that the corporate image of their new employer as projected in the social or mass media is not what they actually live or experience inside the company. Thus, acquiring an internal knowledge of a corporate culture can only be understood if one is part of the corporate community. Nonmembers can only gain the etic (observer’s perspective) or external knowledge of the firm’s culture. Only insiders such as employees and managers can feel and understand the basic patterns of their corporate culture as they belong to the firm’s corporate structure.

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An outsider or visitor may discover partially some of the firm’s cultural traits from afar but could not discover and live its basic cultural patterns and inner dynamics. But for an insider, a corporate culture can become too familiar to him or her that he or she can label its corporate culture as “toxic”, “employee-friendly” or”damaged”. Of course, these terms do not totally capture the complex patterns of the company’s culture, but they provide people an overall image on how to describe the basic cultural orientation of the firm. They can become a useful guide for top managers in changing or reforming the corporate life of the firm as well as for recruiters in selecting applicants who can fit into the corporate culture of the hiring firm.

Conclusion

Corporate culture is, therefore, not purely an abstract thing, but a lived reality. It may appear as an abstract reality mentally at the onset. But when one participates in the firm’s daily life, corporate culture becomes a “real” thing that affects the mental and physical life of people inside and even outside the company. It becomes the basic mold that shapes the corporate lives of employees and managers as long as they remain members of the business organization. Corporate culture is therefore like ‘the operating system’ of the business organization that guides people and employees on how to think, act, and feel inside the company.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

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Should a Leader be a Follower First?

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Introduction

To be a leader requires that one must be a good follower. But this requirement would depend on the circumstances on how the person becomes a leader in business. A person can become an instant leader of a business empire by succession.

There is basically two types of becoming a leader. One is by ascription or by birth and the other is by achievement. An ascribed leadership is acquired through inheritance or succession. Usually the heir is a child or spouse of a recognized leader in a particular business enterprise. After the business leader died or retired, the spouse or child becomes the heir of the established business and assumes the leadership of the business.

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For instance, the Norwegian heiress Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 21 and 22 years respectively, became the youngest billionaires in the world for the third year in a row, after their father, Johan H. Andersen, transferred ownership of their family’s investment company, Ferd, to them in 2007. In such a young age, they instantly become the established leader in the investment business  of their country.

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Photo: Alexandra (21 years old) and Katharina (22 years old), world’s youngest billionaires (courtesy of businessinsider.com)

The other way of being a business leader is by achievement. This type of leadership is common in our current global and technological age. The candidate usually achieves success and leadership in a particular field of business by hard work, dedication,and achievement. This person usually does not come from a rich or landed class. Some come from humble beginnings. Others are even college dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Some studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between academic excellence in school and success in doing business. Not all billionaires  graduated with summa cum laude or with high honors in college, but they are usually creative people, smart and have a strong passion in actualizing their niches and goals in business. These people are usually  self-made billionaires.

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“The youngest self-made billionaire is John Collison of Stripe, age 27. He cofounded the payments startup with older brother Patrick Collison, who at 29 is also one of the youngest billionaires. Stripe’s most recent fundraising round in November 2016 valued the company at $9.2 billion; the brothers are each worth $1 billion. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel.”

Leadership by ascription or succession does not necessarily requires to be a good follower before becoming a leader in  his/her business empire or firm. Without fully knowing the “rules of the game” or actual operations of the firm in the lower echelon of the company, s/he leads the business by succession.

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Photo: Enrique Razon, leader in port-handling business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Leadership by achievement requires the aspirant to be a good follower become s/he becomes the recognized leader of his/her chosen niche in business. One of the top 10 riches Filipino in the Philippines, Enrique Razon (Networth: $4.3 billion), started as a crane operator as a young man in his father’s port-handling business. He allegedly dropped out of school to study his father’s business operations. In a television interview, he attributed the expansion of the business to this experience of being an ordinary worker of the firm. He was literally a follower and servant and worked his way up in his father’s firm. He obeyed his managers and the rules of his own business. As a result, he learned the various aspects of the business. When his father died, Enrique Razon took over the business and went beyond. And because he was a faithful follower, he learned the “rules of the game” and became a new leader by achievement in port-handling business. His business has even become a multinational and engaged other forms of trade, such casino and resort business.

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Photo: Henry Sy, the richest Filipino businessman, leader in retail and mall business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Another great Filipino who became the leader in retail business in the Philippines by being a good follower is Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine. he started his business by selling shoes as an ambulant vendor. Before becoming the leader in retail and mall business, he was a true disciple of retailing. Because of his dedication and persistence, he became the leader of his chosen business niche by achievement.

What type of business leader you want to be?

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Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Forbes.com, and businessinsider.com

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post! Cheers and best wishes! AMDG.

 

References

Au-Yeung, A. (6 March 2018). “The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2018: Meet The 63 Under Age 40”. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2018/03/06/youngest-billionaires-under-40-2018/#60d61c86729a.

3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

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The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

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Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

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Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

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         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

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How to Be a Good and Effective Manager-Leader

Introduction

A good manager must not only possess superior technical skills but also social managerial skills. After all, the primary role of the manager is to guide and supervise people under his/her care, not machines and robots. The word “good” here implies a value judgment and a set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad trait. And since business has diverse standards of what constitutes a “good” or “bad” manager, it is expected that what is good in one company may be not good in another company. What is common, however, is that all managers, regardless of the type and size of business, deal with people and employees with different personality, attitude, ability, talent, and experience in the company. Like a conductor in an orchestra, a good manager is one who knows how to blend and unify the various social circumstances of his/her employees in the workplace to achieve the company’s short and long-term goals. What makes a manager different from a rank-and-file employee is his/her discretionary power. S/he has the power when and how a company policy or goal can be actualized in the workplace through his/her intervention. Thus, a manager who has 4 of the traits below can be considered “good” and effective in today’s global age.

1. Familiar with the company’s organizational Culture.

First of all, a good manager must be familiar with the organizational culture of the company. This trait requires that the manager must be observant, analytical, broad-minded and with longer exposure in the company. S/he should have a firm grasp of “how things work” inside the organization: the goals, rules and sanctions of the company, internal politics and the degree of influence of power cliques inside the firm, as well as the overall social networking process inside and outside the company. The more the manager is familiar with the overall system of the company, the more s/he can be effective to fit his/her own office or area of responsibility in the overall scheme and direction of the business firm.With his/her superior knowledge of the culture or “way of life” of people inside his/her company, s/he can “make things done” despite bureaucratic limitations and obstacles.

In particular, s/he must know whether his/her company is generally personalistic, that is, social interaction and transaction are basically based on social ties rather than on qualification and merit. In sole proprietorship or smaller enterprises, the employees are usually affiliated with owners as relative, friend or co-ethic. Thus, the manager must be careful in dealing with employees who are close to the owners. But in highly complex and rational system of big companies, merit, rather social ties, usually predominats the overall cultural system of the business firm. In this case, the manager can be more efficient and professional in dealing with employees and situations in his/her office or area of responsibility.

2. Prudent in his/her exercise of managerial power and authority.

A manager must be prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority in the company. Authority is a legitimate form of power delegated by the company to the manager in administering the firm as specified in the company’s manual. In theory, the manager must only act within the scope of his/her authority. But in some cases, s/he goes beyond this boundary such as dominating or bullying his/her employees–and thus act using his/her personal power and status rather than his/her authority. S/he must remember the saying: “If there is power, there is resistance”! If the manager wants to avoid nasty rumors and gossip from his/her subordinate, s/he must exercise moderation and prudence with regard to power and authority. This does not mean that s/he should not show anger especially if the situation requires it to achieve targets. What is important is that the employee must feel that the coercion was done by the manager in good faith and for the good of the company and not as a response to a grudge.

Active Resistance

If employees sense that their manager goes beyond his/her authority and thus abuse his/her power, active and passive social resistance would more likely occur. Active resistance is an overt or open form of opposition to the manager’s management style. Unreasonable impositions by the manager on the employees usually invite social resistance such as gossiping and rumor mongering. If the maltreatment or bullying of the manager becomes harsh, employees may manifest their active resistance by answering back to the manager’s rants or other forms of defiance. They can write petition letters or complaints to a higher authority or openly disobeying the manager’s command. Active resistance is easy for the manager to identify and control since it is usually done openly. What is difficult is passive or covert resistance. This often done at his/her back. This needs some sociological sense to discover that the employees resist

Passive Resistance

Passive resistance is an indirect or covert form of resistance. If employees do not want the personality and management style of the manager, they don’t usually show it openly to avoid sanctions. Instead, they would usually do it indirectly such as spreading rumors and gossip against the manager. They can also intentional miss their targets, underperform their tasks and invent all sorts of excuses for their sloppy job. In this case, the manager cannot achieve his/her assigned goals and targets in the firm, making him/her an ineffective leader in the eyes of the top management or owners of the company. These resistant acts may appear insignificant to many people but they can create a ripple effect which can result in an organized opposition against the manager. A good manager therefore is a person who is prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority, avoiding active and passive resistance, for the good of the company. A good manager is must also be open to dialogue with disgruntled employees to understand and address the root cause of their problems..

3. Familiar with the latest technology for business.

With growing digitalisation of business, a good manager must be familiar with the latest Internet and computer skills and applications for business, particularly with the use of the social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other growing networking sites for business. With the advent of the digital, cyber and electronic spaces, physical presence is no longer necessary with the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Multitasking would be made easy because of the digital technology. A manager maybe away from his office, attending a conference and yet s/he can still attend to the day-to-day activities of his/her office with the use of his/her smart phones and wireless broadband or other high-tech devices and applications. The ICTs are also indispensable for a good manager in marketing formally or informally the company’s products and services.

4. Sensitive to his/her employees’ needs.

Finally, one of the most important traits a good manager must possess is sensitivity to his/her employees’ needs. The role of the manager is not only to achieve the company’s business goals and forecasts but also to protect and nurture the company’s most important asset—the employees. If employees feel happy, contented, and supported by the manager in what they do, their productivity and loyalty to the company would intensify and the company’s goals would then be easier to achieve. If this happens, the top management, will take notice of the manager’s capacity and and would be persuaded to promote him to higher post and responsibility.The employees’ feeling of being respected and valued by their company through their manager would surely result in increased productivity, efficiency and profit for the company. The famous Pope John Paul II in his papal encyclical or letter entitled Centisimus Annus (One Hundred Years), said that employees’ welfare in the company is more important than just earning more profit in a sesne that a business enterprise is a community of persons aimed at serving the public through products and services.

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6 Quotes from Top Business Leaders and their Sociological Meaning

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Top business leaders may not be social scientists and sociologists but their long journey to success and experience in building their empires have given them some sociological wisdom and theories in their minds on what works or fails in the field of business. They may not have articulated exactly the type of theories and insights they use in the quotes, but they are nevertheless very sociological and empirical from a sociologist’s point of view. Let us examine and analyze sociologically the following quotes from well-known global business leaders:

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This quote emphasizes that media business needs visionary leaders. In sociology, the type of leader with vision is usually the charismatic leader. The German sociologist Max Weber basically classifies leaders into 3 types: Charismatic, Traditional, and Rational-Legal. The charismatic leader is one with extraordinary talents and personal traits. His talent includes a vision of the future.

It is proven that today’s great business leaders are people who think and see ahead of their times. They have the talent to spot opportunities which ordinary entrepreneurs cannot see. Charismatic leaders are creative and innovative people who are willing to break traditions just to actualize their visions. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Ma, to name a few, are examples of charismatic business leaders. In contrast, the traditional leader is usually a conservative person who only follows the tradition and culture of what is handed down from the past to the firm, while the rational-legal leader is one leads only to the laws and policies of the company.

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This quote emphasizes that the customer is the ultimate boss in business. Without customers, the business cannot survive and grow. The resources and capital of the business firm must be used wisely to serve the customers. Managers have no business in the company if they cannot provide the best products and services to the customers.

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This quote stresses that one must take risks in business but only if it is a good cause, if it can lead to a good life, presumably for the customers and the public. A business firm and its leaders cannot takes risks if what they do are contrary to law, custom, and needs of the public. It cannot engage in shady deals and corruption just to increase its profit. Some companies, for instance, pollute rivers by dumping their wastes at the expense of the inhabitants and environment.

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Bill Gates may not be a sociologist, but he knows that life is not equal. It is part of urban society’s social stratification where people are classified according to wealth or social class and according to their skills and level of education or social status. In a capitalist society, the social structure always favors and rich and entrepreneurs, while the poor and workers are oftentimes exploited and forgotten.

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This is a very good observation by Jack Ma. Not many people can see that complaints are actually gaps in the system and opportunities for the business firm to grow and even create new products and services to address them.

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Jack Ma, because of his vision and long experience in business, is correct. The right people for the job or task in the company are not necessarily the best ones. The best people are actually difficult to train in the company. They usually have a strong sense of entitlement. They tend to be good at commanding rather than obeying people who know the needs and problems of the company. That is why, aside from the necessary qualification, the employees must possess the right attitudes, values, and personalities which are consonant with the company’s mission-vision. A business firm is a system with interdependent parts and functions. It requires a teamwork. If the firm hires the best people rather than the right employees, it can result in disharmony and systemic dyfunction which are not good for business.

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All Great Leaders Begin with a Dream!

“Leaders are rarely accidental. Most of them aspire something to improve society according to their personal values and cultural orientation. “

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All great leaders begin with a dream. They aspire to become authorities in some particular fields. They also think and believe that they can achieve their dreams. They are actually visionaries. They begin with an idea that they would someday become leaders according to the likings their hearts and end up industry leaders. Social scientists believe that we are what we think. Action is guided by thinking. We can only achieve what strongly think and dream. If we do not aspire to become  leaders, then we can never be one. Aspiring leaders think outside the box to explore new horizons to serve humanity.

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Leaders are rarely accidental. Most of them aspire something to improve society according to their personal values and cultural orientation. It’s true that leaders are made, not born. No one is born a leader, unless he or she inherited it because of the social status of their parents. Thus, if one is born a member of a political clan or family, he or she can assume the political leadership of their parents as a form of what sociologists call as ascribed status or a form of social status acquired from birth. But most business leaders who are innovative and who opened new fields in today’s technological world are made through their own efforts and through the conducive social and business environments that provided them a “break” or opportunity to lead a group or industry. Steve Jobs, for example, could not become a leader in technology innovation if the digital technology did not flourish during his time. The latest technologies provided him with new tools and opportunities to actualize his dreams! Bill Gates would not also become the founder of the Microsoft and a leader of the software technology if technology did not shift from analog to digital and without the invention of the Internet and personal computers. Achieving leadership is not only a matter of personal effort. The social milieu must also be “friendly” or conducive to the dreamer or aspiring leader! And if the dreamer is really serious  in achieving something to improve society in some particular fields, then the content of his or her dream must be based on real life situations; otherwise, the dream is only a wishful or idle thinking without a serious effort on the part of the dreamer to actualize it. This is not the kind of dream that great leaders think! What they think is achieving breakthroughs of humankind’s current perennial problems that make life difficult for people. Great leaders in business, for instance, think and invent products and services that improve the current market or open up a new market altogether or niche.

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Contemporary Leadership as Achieved Social Status

Most leadership that happen in contemporary society is achieved status, i.e, acquired by the person through personal achievement and effort. That is why in urban society, most leaders are guided by personal aspirations that one day they would become industry leaders. They just don’t sit around and wait for the opportunities to come. Instead they explore real human needs, study how they can address them, and work tirelessly to achieve them. They never give up when they encounter obstacles and frustrations along the way. Most great leaders in today’s business world did not achieve their leadership status by wishful thinking or leading a comfortable life. They live a very difficult life before they achieve their dream and become leaders of their chosen fields. Jack Ma, for instance, did not become the leader of the Alibaba Group in China and become one of the richest men of his country without undergoing humiliation of being rejected by Harvard Business School twelve times and experiencing some seemingly insurmountable obstacles in achieving his dream. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg had to drop from Harvard University to focus on their dreams. The road to success and leadership is painful but inwardly rewarding for aspirants in achieved leadership status.  Most of these business leaders did not acquire their leadership by ascription or comfort, but by extreme personal sacrifice and determination, seeing achievement of their dreams and glory beyond the horizon not seen by ordinary mortals.

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Top Leadership Strategies of Hugely Profitable Companies

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1. Treat People Well

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There is no other sure way to succeed in business than treating people who are connected to the company. They can be employees, customers, managers, suppliers, and all other internal and external customers. The purpose of business is actually forming a community of persons with individual and family needs. John Zimmer, founder and president of Lyft said:

“Treating people well is great for business; it is complementary to doing well in business. What I do know is that most businesses require other people to help you get where you need to go. Whether that’s our employees, which we call team members, whether that’s in our case the drivers or customers, passengers who are using the service, great service, great hospitality, treating people well, having a good set of values. That is great for business” (Mazarais & Shotell, 2017).

2. Eliminate all needless busywork.

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A highly successful leader in a hugely profitable business is usually well-organized and knows his or her priorities and hierarchy of values in the company. At some point they all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?”

But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.

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“Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?” (Quora.com).

2. Empower people in your company.

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Doing business is a team effort. It is not a one-man show. The business leader must know this fact. To be successful, he or she must know how to delegate power and empower people to become leaders in their own departments or areas of responsibility. Jason Downes: managing director at Powownow said:

“We should all take some time to consider how our own words impact those around us, whether making someone feel more confident or helping empower your colleagues at work.”

3. Spend time to understand the organizational culture.

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A good business leader in a highly profitable company must know the corporate or organizational culture. When a CEO or manager is appointed to a company, he or she must first take some time to study the corporate culture before he or she starts governing the business firm. The corporate culture refers to the entire way of life of the company that includes people and non-human components of business.

John Brennan, CIA Director under the Obama Administration says:

“The most important thing for anybody who’s going to be taking on that responsibility, is use your first period of time, whether it be six, nine, 12 months, to learn as much as you can about the organization that you’re running. Understand how it interacts within itself, how it inter-operates with the rest of the intelligence community and the US government. You really need to have that in-depth understanding and knowledge in order for you to have the wisdom … (Mazarakis & Shontell, 2017).

3. Be transparent in running your business.

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As more companies open up about their processes and methods, customers are becoming savvier and hungrier for transparency. Fortunately, transparency does not require you to fork over trade secrets but it does mean being honest about how you conduct business. Your customers want to feel they can trust you. Openness and information sharing helps to build that trust (Ibid.).

4. Encourage employees to express their creativity.

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“Profitable and sustainable enterprises thrive on original thinking while copycat businesses shutter their doors as soon as the idea they have stolen loses its relevance. Since the successful conception and development of viable business ideas takes time and requires a flexible corporate structure, try setting aside a dedicated amount of resources to allow your employees to be creative on their own terms” (Ibid).

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“Google does this by giving its engineers 20 percent of their time to work on any project they want. This allows team members to develop products they are passionate about. Many times, that means more care and attention goes into each effort. Gmail is the most famous consequence of Google’s generous 20 percent time policy” (Ibid.).

5. Develop your business in line with technology.

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In today’s business world, technology is king. With the advent of information and communication technologies as well as the Internet, a highly profitable business must use creatively the latest technologies. Physical stores, for instance, are now gradually replaced by online stores because of technology, traditional marketing with digital marketing, walk-in hiring by online recruitment via the social media. “As the world becomes more mobile, if you aren’t making your business mobile, every minute your potential customers are passing you by and using companies that do use the the new way to engage.”

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Kittaneh, F. (4 May 2015). “6 Secrets of Business Leaders Who Built Hugely Successful Companies”. Entrepreneur. Retrived from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245268.

Mazarakis, A. & Shontell, A. (25 Nov 2017). “10 CEOs and top executives reveal their best leadership secrets”. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/top-execs-tech-ceos-reveal-secrets-to-being-a-successful-leader-2017-11.

growthbusiness.co.uk (3 Oct 2017).”10 business leaders share their secrets to success”. Retrieved from http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/secrets-to-success-business-leaders-2552460/.

Quora.com (13 March 2015).  “12 best-kept secrets of successful business people”: Answer by Vivik Raj on Quora.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/03/13/12-best-kept-secrets-of-successful-business-people/.

 

All Great Leaders Begin with a Dream!

“Leaders are rarely accidental. Most of them aspire something to improve society according to their personal values and cultural orientation. “

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All great leaders begin with a dream. They aspire to become authorities in some particular fields. They also think and believe that they can achieve their dreams. They are actually visionaries. They begin with an idea that they would someday become leaders according to the likings their hearts and end up industry leaders. Social scientists believe that we are what we think. Action is guided by thinking. We can only achieve what strongly think and dream. If we do not aspire to become  leaders, then we can never be one. Aspiring leaders think outside the box to explore new horizons to serve humanity.

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Leaders are rarely accidental. Most of them aspire something to improve society according to their personal values and cultural orientation. It’s true that leaders are made, not born. No one is born a leader, unless he or she inherited it because of the social status of their parents. Thus, if one is born a member of a political clan or family, he or she can assume the political leadership of their parents as a form of what sociologists call as ascribed status or a form of social status acquired from birth. But most business leaders who are innovative and who opened new fields in today’s technological world are made through their own efforts and through the conducive social and business environments that provided them a “break” or opportunity to lead a group or industry. Steve Jobs, for example, could not become a leader in technology innovation if the digital technology did not flourish during his time. The latest technologies provided him with new tools and opportunities to actualize his dreams! Bill Gates would not also become the founder of the Microsoft and a leader of the software technology if technology did not shift from analog to digital and without the invention of the Internet and personal computers. Achieving leadership is not only a matter of personal effort. The social milieu must also be “friendly” or conducive to the dreamer or aspiring leader! And if the dreamer is really serious  in achieving something to improve society in some particular fields, then the content of his or her dream must be based on real life situations; otherwise, the dream is only a wishful or idle thinking without a serious effort on the part of the dreamer to actualize it. This is not the kind of dream that great leaders think! What they think is achieving breakthroughs of humankind’s current perennial problems that make life difficult for people. Great leaders in business, for instance, think and invent products and services that improve the current market or open up a new market altogether or niche.

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Contemporary Leadership as Achieved Social Status

Most leadership that happen in contemporary society is achieved status, i.e, acquired by the person through personal achievement and effort. That is why in urban society, most leaders are guided by personal aspirations that one day they would become industry leaders. They just don’t sit around and wait for the opportunities to come. Instead they explore real human needs, study how they can address them, and work tirelessly to achieve them. They never give up when they encounter obstacles and frustrations along the way. Most great leaders in today’s business world did not achieve their leadership status by wishful thinking or leading a comfortable life. They live a very difficult life before they achieve their dream and become leaders of their chosen fields. Jack Ma, for instance, did not become the leader of the Alibaba Group in China and become one of the richest men of his country without undergoing humiliation of being rejected by Harvard Business School twelve times and experiencing some seemingly insurmountable obstacles in achieving his dream. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg had to drop from Harvard University to focus on their dreams. The road to success and leadership is painful but inwardly rewarding for aspirants in achieved leadership status.  Most of these business leaders did not acquire their leadership by ascription or comfort, but by extreme personal sacrifice and determination, seeing achievement of their dreams and glory beyond the horizon not seen by ordinary mortals.

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Today’s Emerging Breed of Leaders: Billionaires in Jeans!

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Hello to all my followers and blog subscribers!

In this post, we are going to examine why today’s business leaders and billionaires are becoming younger and unorthodox in their ways as shown in the type of clothes they wear in public such as t-shirts and jeans or denims!

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The traditional dress code for business leaders is the corporate attire and not t-shirts and denim pants! So, what’s wrong with our current age that the new breed of CEOs just wear ordinary clothes reserved for the young or teenagers?

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Take note that with the advent of digital technology and the cyberspace, the locus of doing business has shifted from the ordinary physical space to the wired or electronic space of the Internet and the hyperreal! From the physical store to the online store! From face-to-face interaction to online interaction mediated by the computer or smart phone screen!

Those who lead and use the latest technologies and the emerging global trade based on intellectual property are now the emerging breed of business leaders—billionaires who wear t-shirts, jeans or denims. Yes! They literally wear denims and t-shirts because they are relatively young people who earn their money by creatively exploring the business opportunities offered by the current technological and intellectual property age!

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Wearing shirts and denims instead of the typical coat and tie for business leaders also indicates a new image and social status for today’s new breed of entrepreneurs. Research studies showed that deliberate deviations from convention had a powerful effect on others. It implies that people who deliberately break the norms are saying that they cannot be ruled by the current social rules because they are creators of a new set of laws!

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The breaking of the traditional dress code for business leaders symbolically  conveys the message that the billionaires in jeans are not the traditional business heroes who just sit comfortably in their CEO offices and neatly dressed in their suits, but new type of leaders who can be present anywhere as long as they have the latest gadgets and technologies to create and manage their businesses. They are not afraid to get dirty to raise their next billion online! The jeans and t-shirts symbolize mobility and flexibility which is the spirit of global business characterized by fluidity and liquidity. The territory of their business is not primarily the temporal space of the physical store or office but the cyberspace where their online markets can be found.

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Younger people are generally curious and creative compared to older persons which would make them the suitable drivers of today’s digital technology, online interaction, and social media. They are technology savvy who love to tinker with the computer, create new apps or networks in the social media,  full of energy to surf and explore the electronic world using their latest gadgets for long hours. Older people are generally less tech-savvy and lack impatient in exploring the complex language and network of the computer world and cyberspace. And yet the new opportunities that create massive and instant wealth are available in the cyberspace and digital technology. They are now in one’s fingertips, in the high-tech and high-speed laptop and smartphones.

Doing business nowadays is now predominantly online. All one has to do is to connect to the cyberspace and be creative in exploring and using the different apps, sites, platforms,  social media, software, etc., to create wealth!

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The new breed of  leaders do business in the cyberspace where corporate attire is unnecessary as long as they are comfortable with the clothes they wear while using their latest high-tech smartphones and gadgets for their online business, totally different from the traditional leaders who primarily do business in the physical world where physical looks and attire matter!

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Thank you for reading this post! Feel free to like, comment or share this post!  Best regards and cheers!

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How to Become a Christian Leader!

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Introduction

Among all models on leadership, there is one significant image that can be used as a template for all Christians who want to understand leadership and become a leader–the servant model. According to this model, a servant must always be a person who serves other people and not the other way around. A leader is, above all, a servant to his/her followers or constituents! The teaching of the Gospels on leadership is still the best model for all those aspiring to become Christian leaders in their chosen field.

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Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26).

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John Maxwell, a well-known Evangelical Christian pastor and popular guru on leadership knows more about the Christian model of leadership, being an expert on the Bible and Christian ministry. Maxwell is a leadership expert, speaker, and author and founder of INJOY, Maximum Impact, The John Maxwell Team, ISS and EQUIP, organizations all focusing on leadership development to help business leaders. Overall, Maxwell basically applies the servant model in the field of business management and aims to form Christian leaders.

John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership

Qualities of a Christian Leader

The Biblical model of leadership transcends all other theorizing on leadership. The Christian model has the following important characteristics as illustrated by some Biblical stories:

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The Story of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-12). A Christian leader protects his/her followers from external threats to their personal and social security. With great faith in God, a Christian leader is ready to die for what is good for his/her constituents. A Christian manager, for instance, knows how to protect his/her employees from retrenchment, unjust accusations, violence, threats, politics, and unfair labor practice in the workplace.

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The Last Supper (Mt. 26:17–30, Mk. 14:12–26, Lk. 22:7–39 and Jn. 13:1–17:26) . A Christian leader joyfully serves his/her followers. S/he does not desire to be served by those who depend on him/her. Christ washing of the feet of the apostles symbolizes a humble leader who does aim for public praise and social prestige of becoming a leader. A Christian leader does his/her job as a shepherd to his/her followers because it is part his/her response to  God’s calling that those want to be the greatest must be a servant to all. Christian leadership is not driven by the desire for success or wealth but to establish God’s Kingdom in the workplace or society. It requires a strong spirituality of work and a drive to follow what Christ said that He came to earth to serve and not to be served.

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The Story of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12). The story of John the Baptist in the Gospels implies that a Christian leader must also be a prophet to society. To be a prophet is to preach the Christian message in the midst of oppression and exploitation of people in the workplace or society. A Christian leader must have a strong social awareness of what is going on in his/her social environment and courageous enough to point out to powerful people and enemies the social injustices they have done to his/her constituents or followers. This personal courage of the leader emanates from his/her strong faith in God.

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For Christians, there is no other model but Christ Himself who died on the cross to save humanity from personal and social sins. Christ does not expect people who want to imitate Him as a leader to live a comfortable life. There will be persecutions and all forms of suffering for Christian leaders who aim to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. But Christ assured them with these words:

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“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3, NKJV).

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