Tag Archives: Organisational

Business is Personal

Your personal vision

There are many business articles and blogs that analyse why personal relationships in business are beneficial.  What I want to touch on is a little deeper being the importance of a personal vision for a SME business owner and how that relates to their business vision.

Business is personal

Many businesses have a business plan that includes operational strategies that underpin the culture, structure and vision of the business.  What is usually lacking is the business owner’s personal vision which should be supported by the business.  The personal vision sits right at the tip of the Business Triangle.

The Business Triangle

The business must provide the business owner with:

  1. The lifestyle that they want
  2. Enough time to enjoy it
  3. The cash to afford it
  4. A valuable, saleable business asset
  5. An outlet to develop the business owners skills

If the business owner is clear on what they want to get out of life they can more effectively manage their business by aligning a business vision that is supportive through strategy and operational execution.  An example from my experiences working with SME business owners is the pain point of not enough personal time to have a life (which is quite common).  They didn’t have a personal vision and hadn’t associated that Business is Personal – meaning the business is there to support their personal vision.  Once a clear personal vision had been set we could work on the areas of the business that needed to change to support that personal vision.

The business is not the driver with the business owner being the vehicle to drive the business to the business vision…it is the other way around.

The simplest way to prepare a personal vision is to do some critical thinking about you and what you want to get out of your life.  Focus on the following areas:

  1.        Family
  2.        Health
  3.        Business
  4.        Wealth
  5.        Hobbies
  6.        Social
  7.        Skills
  8.        Education

Summarise your critical thinking and prepare a one page document, dated 5 years from now, in the 1st person, that illustrates how you are living your life with reference to the above 8 areas (only mention the most relevant and impactful areas).  Sign it off as a commitment, review it routinely and note where you have chosen to edit your path.

The next stage is to review your business vision, culture, structure and operational strategies to ensure that they align and support your personal vision.

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Cross Cultural Leadership

Over the last six months I have been heavily involved in the formal establishment of a subsidiary in the Philippines.  This involved the initial legal structure right through to daily operations.  During this period I have reflected on the business theory related to cross cultural leadership and management.

We know that modern day leaders work in a global world, even when they are based domestically and this exposes many leaders to different cultures frequently.  This exposure is intensified when you venture internationally.

“…the single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture.”

Hall & Hall (1987)

In my experience working in many Asian countries cultural differences can impact business activities such as effective leadership, meetings, entertainment, negotiation, expectation, decision-making, conflict resolution and communication style.  To succeed, leaders must be aware of the relevance of ‘culture’ and ‘multicultural’ environments.

There are two types of culture that influence an employee and need to be considered by the leader:

Culture image  

National Culture

“…those customary beliefs and values that ethnic, religious, and social groups transmit fairly unchanged from generation to generation.”

Guiso, Sapienza, & Zingales (2006)

 To understand and effectively negate cultural barriers to business, leaders must appreciate the employee’s emotional attachment to ethnic traditions; places; events; stories; and memories.  I have found this especially true in relation to traditions (that may be carried out during working hours) and events (that occur throughout the year during work days that have relevance to an employee’s way of life).

 

Organisational culture

There are many definitions of organisational culture however Schein (1985) explains it succinctly, in that an organisational culture can be explained on three levels:

  1. Basic (underlying) assumptions – Belief in the correct way of doing things – deepest level of culture and hardest to change.
  2. Group Values – A sense of what ought to be.  As the group changes overtime so do the values, this is more evident in the smaller groups within an organisation.
  3. Group Artefacts – Established procedures, technology and communication methods.  This has certainly been the hardest to manage on a day to day basis especially in a start-up organisation.  Founding employees bring the group artefacts from their previous employer, if they are negative and/or unproductive they need to be negated quickly.

 

Parting comment

In order to deploy effective leadership, leaders need to take the time to explore, investigate and understand these manifestations of culture in the workplace before adapting their leadership style.


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