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Tag Archives: Work culture

Why can’t your business have any ethical standards?


Have you ever thought why big company’s CEO can cash in on millions of dollars in bonuses and still remain untouchable by Federal Government? Have you ever thought why media always talks about ethical issues, and nothing ever happens to those people? Recently, I was watching a documentary on how big companies are moving their IPs (intellectual properties) to Ireland, and paying only 15% taxes there instead of paying 35% tax in United States. Then I asked myself a question….. Is this legal? ……The answer came out to be…. “YES”. They are not doing anything wrong legally. So, government in United States can’t do anything about this. This raised an another question in my mind….. Is it ethical? ….. And surprisingly the answer came out to be as “YES”. And here is why……

Basics of business: Have you ever saw the definition of business? If you have then you know what I am talking about. In defining a business, ethics don’t play in to the picture at all. Sole purpose of a business is to increase the value for its stakeholders. Thus, can you blame those businesses, who are taking advantage of the lower tax policies in Ireland to increase their net income? It might be morally wrong for those businesses to show all of their profit in Ireland, while they get their 50-70% profit from United States, but you can’t do anything about that. As more and more countries loosen their tax policies to attract foreign businesses, there would always be some companies who want to move there to increase their net profit by paying lower taxes there.

Definition of ethics: In my opinion, definition of ethics is very subjective. I don’t think that you can have a clear defined ethical standards globally. Whenever you try to define ethics, it doesn’t remain ethics anymore. It becomes a law or a rule. For example: If you think that it’s not an ethical practice for people to do insider trading on the basis of the insider information, and if you want to change that then you might want to change the law which punishes those people. Unless you put that law in practice, you will always find immoral people, who will be using their insider knowledge to make huge bucks for themselves. At the end, ethics shrink down to morals and personal belief of that particular individual, who is running that business. Because there is nothing clearly defined in the books, which will prevent this person from taking unethical decisions.

Subjective nature: As I mentioned earlier, ethics basically shrinks down to morals and beliefs of the person who is handling that business. Thus, ethics tend to be very subjective in nature. And there are various other factors that affects the core definition of ethics. For example: It would be considered unethical for an employer to hire a kid, who is only 15 years old. But in some countries, some government encourages companies to hire younger people, so that they can support their family, while getting the invaluable professional training for their future. Thus, you can’t exactly define what is ethical and what is not, when your business is global and you yourself can’t define what is considered ethical.

Though I have my tight morals, beliefs, and ethical standards; I don’t think that a business, as an entity, can have any kind of ethical standards. Of course, business can have rules and policies under which it can operate, but there can’t be any ethical standards that it can abide to. I hope you liked my argument in this blog. Please feel free to discuss your view points on the same. I am always curious to hear different perspective from different people. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Manager’s Guide: How can I make it easier for a new hire to transition in my group? (Part 1)


I have written numerous blogs about how to familiarize yourself with your new job, but I have never focused on writing the other side of the story. In this blog series, I will provide some guidelines which can help you to conduct useful conversations with your new employees during the onboarding process. I hope that you can create a positive onboarding experience for your employees through these tips.

Talk about strategic objectives: Obviously, you need to have several conversations between you and the new employee over first 6-7 months, but make sure to make the strategic objectives as your primary conversation topic. This will not only make her understand the relationship between her tasks and the objectives of your company, but it will help you to make her understand the overall picture. You can start this discussion by talking about the company’s vision and strategy; and then you can progress towards explaining her the company’s goals, priorities and business initiatives. During this discussion, you should always ensure that you try to connect company’s goals and your team’s goals with her day-to-day activities. This practice will help you in making her an autonomous resource of your team, who can connect the dots by herself.

Talk about the culture: I have seen various managers, who fails to explain the existing culture of their company to a new hire. They think that the new hire will catch up on the company’s culture with time. While this perception has some credibility, I would advise not to do that. If you would have explained the company’s culture to the new hire during the onboarding process, then it will make her transition easier and smooth, while you can benefit from her understanding of the existing culture. You can initiate this conversation by describing her the culture of the company including company’s norms, beliefs, values, traditions, symbols, etc. For example: our working hours are 8-5pm, and all the employees are supposed to be present on the company premises between our core hours – 9am to 4pm.

I hope these tips will help you to become a better manager by providing a clear direction for your newly hired employee. In the next blog post, I will be discussing about how to familiarize your new hire with the rules of your team.

Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can help your employees to easily transition to your company. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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New hire’s guide to learn the culture of the company


My team is currently growing. We are hiring few new people at this time. And as we hire new people, I need to make sure that they get appropriate tools and training to come up to speed. Thus, I was creating an on-boarding plan for these new hires. My initial plan only contained specifics of what processes, technologies and tools that they need to learn. I didn’t have any idea about how to train them on our existing culture. And I thought of this blog. Following are few pointers, which might help you in learning the existing culture of your new company.

Policies: The organizational policies and procedures influence the projects that a company undertakes. The organizational procedures will determine how to implement new strategies and if the work environment will be formal or informal. For example: some organizations may allow employees to work anytime from 7.00am to 7.00pm, while other organizations may be very strict about their working hours. To get yourself acquainted with these policies, you should read all the possible policy documents at your disposal. HR department would be your best bet to find more information. Detailed oriented observation of your co-workers can also help you in learning unwritten policies.

Values: The values, beliefs and expectations of an organization have a major impact on the organizational culture. The organization’s strategic decision making choices, preferences, and approach will vary based on its values and beliefs. The criteria for the election of a project are determined by the organizational culture. For example: a competitive, ambitious and assertive organization will select projects with high risks, while a highly rigid and authoritarian origination might not take projects with high risks. Most of these values are derived from your company’s culture or your team’s culture. Your best bet would be observing your manager’s behavior and socialize with your colleague to get more information. Going out on lunch with your coworker can give you many valuable insights.

Management style: The management style of the organization is another factor that affects the organizational culture. Some managers follow a coaching style, while other managers follow a controlling style. After observing the management style of your organization, you can determine if your feedbacks will be valued or not? If the management is going to implement new strategies based on your feedback or not? As a new employee, I would recommend you to adapt to the management style of an organization. And once you properly understand your Manager’s management style, try to provide your feedback in the manner that he/she will understand.

I hope these tips will help you to learn the culture of your new company as soon as possible. Please feel free to comment on my blog, if you have any other suggestions regarding this subject. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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3 simple tips to successfully change your organizational culture


ReinventRecently, I was helping one of my client to develop a new line of product in their product portfolio. With the help of their existing equipments and resources, they could have come out with this new product very easily. In order to create this new product, they required a major shift in their existing culture. Maybe that was the major reason why this initiative hadn’t worked for them.

Organizational culture is formed over years through historical events, employee’s shared values, employee’s shared beliefs, organization’s leadership, etc. Normally, organizational culture grows over time, and most of the times people are comfortable with the existing culture. Thus, we can’t expect an immediate change in the organizational culture. But we can progressively change organizational culture through following steps:

Understand your existing culture: Before any organization can change its culture, it must first understand the existing culture. There are various ways to perform cultural analysis of your organization. Few methods that I use for cultural analysis are: Schein’s rubric and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Schein’s rubric can be used for understanding the organizational culture of a smaller company, while Hofstede’s cultural dimensions can be used for understanding the culture of International organizations.

Develop cultural vision: After you are done with understanding your existing organizational culture, you need to develop a cultural vision for your organization. This is a crucial step, as you will be defining the strategic direction for your culture, and making sure that these cultural changes support your overall organizational goals. Envisioning culture artifacts, values and beliefs will help tremendously during this phase. For example: our new culture will have open door policy, tightened ethical standards, etc.

Change organization’s behavior: In this stage, we need to change organization’s behavior to create the desired organizational culture. We might not be able to change behavior of each and every individual, but we can make changes in the organizational structure and leadership to propagate these changes to an individual level. During this phase, we need to get full support from executives, and provide appropriate training to the employees to make this work. Communication is the key element for changing people’s behavior. Thus, we need to provide various channels of feedback and performance metrics, through which we can measure success of these changes. For example: employees feedback sessions, employee satisfaction survey, rate of increase/decrease of productivity, etc.

I hope, these tips will help you to successfully change your organizational culture over time. Please feel free to comment on my blog, if you have any other suggestions regarding organizational cultural change. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Cooperative Work Ethic and its Positive Implications within Leadership and Management


WorkEthicsA lot of people believe that Leadership and Management are completely different aspects of a business that can’t work together.  Maybe that’s the reason there are endless blogs addressing the issue of “Leadership versus Management”. In many companies, leadership and management operate on a different echelon, wherein they don’t often interact with each other except in mandatory situations. An unfortunate result of this is a stitch in company productivity, and as a result of that, customer dissatisfaction. Even then, the relationship between leadership and management is awkward at best, most often riddled with contradictions of interest.

We have seen with many companies in recent history (i.e. Google and Apple) that cooperative work ethic pays off. For example, as a result of Google’s innovation and cooperative work ethics, Google Inc. was featured on such prominent media sources as NBC’s Today Show as one of the “Best Places to Work For”. Thus, the over all experience with employee-employer relationships were both favorable on an interpersonal level as well as beneficial to the company as a whole. The result of this boost in productivity trickles down to the customer/user, and the market value. Using cooperative work ethics as a strategy for mitigating the awkward playing field between leadership and management is a winning move for any company.

The example of Google is an especially poignant one, given that in today’s business world they rank as one of the top influential players. If google doesn’t endorse something, it usually takes a big hit. If google does, that particular product immediately benefits from the relationship. An example of this would be the iPhone versus Android phones. The iPhone uses the safari browser, does not allow flash and disallowed google voice for fear that it would taint the iPhone monopoly. It received quite a public backlash for the latter. iPhone does have one key app, “Youtube”, which is owned by Google. If not for that app installed by default onto the iPhone operating system, Apple would have lost a good deal of its market share of users. As far as the Android phones are concerned, they are slowly gaining a noticeable place in the smart phone market.

You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with cooperative work ethic? Android uses an “open source” operating system, another manifestation of cooperative work ethic. Google essentially opened the floodgates, for better or for worse, to amateur developers to create new applications, software and even fix issues or improve issues within the existing operating system. Although Apple has the edge as far as “out of the box quality” is concerned, Google is gaining significance due to its flexibility by involving end users in the development and quality control processes, thereby bypassing any static quality Apple offers. Management and Leadership can learn from this technical albeit relevant example, by encouraging a parlay between each other.  Communication, after all, is key.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Leadership, Management

 

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