Corporate Culture: The Sleeping Beast

Culture an any form, is the shared value and beliefs a group of people follow. When it comes to organizational culture, the ‘shared’ value and beliefs in an organization, governs how people behave and their decisions.

Or in more simple terms, “Culture is how organizations ‘do things’.” — Robbie Katanga*

How important is it? Well, Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos.com) said,

If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.”

 

We all know how Google is known for their ‘awesome’ corporate culture*. The facilities provided at their head-office, is in itself a jaw-dropper, but their continuous importance given to office atmosphere, employee recognition, and community welfare has made Google’s corporate culture into a benchmark most companies strive to achieve.

But what if a company doesn’t pay attention to all that. They don’t have well-incorporated values, neither they find any importance in recognizing employee accomplishments. This behavior then leads to top-management pursuing personal agendas, middle-management slacks off and lower-management gets the grit of the work. Organizational politics may ensue and overall employee productivity may drop. Okay, all that maybe a bit exaggerated. But I’m saying based on experience (albeit a couple of years).

For example; manager disagrees with their boss for a medium-impact-but-high-budget item, boss wouldn’t budge from their decision or would stall the approval, manager starts to micromanage the team, atmosphere become intolerable during meetings, everyone has a bad day at work.

Now the above might happen anywhere, but how often does it happen? Is the Boss (probably a Baby-Boomer) at fault for being stingy against change? Is the Manager (probably a Gen-X) being stubborn because they want recognition? Is the Team (probably Millennials) being exploited because well, they are millennials?

When I was job-hunting; among all other company/position characteristics, I paid attention to corporate culture most of the time. I will effect how I’ll work, what I’ll do, and most importantly, if I’ll like to work there and how I’ll grow as an employee – as a person.

So depending on who manages the unit, department, or the organization; they will have considerable amount of power over how the organizational culture is developed within their ‘territory’. Specially when an organization is in a silo-structure, it becomes important to make sure that each silo has a strong culture in itself.

 

Corporate Culture is the intangible, internal beast of the organization that is sleeping. you can let it sleep, or awaken it and win over your competition.

 

🙂 FTK

 

Credits:

1* What is Organizational Culture?” Via HBR

2* Google’s Organizational Culture Via OfficeVibe

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Diet and Weight Loss

Although I am of average built, with a BMI of 22-23, my weight has fluctuated almost 15kgs in the last 3 to 4 years. For my body type, I’m used to having a gradual weight gain, and even slower weight loss. But just the sheer change in my routine and eating habits lead me to loose 10 kgs in one year, and gain back almost 5kgs in the following 6 months.

I also just completed online course for “Diploma on Weight Loss”. Here are the top three things I learned:

1. Dieting doesn’t work for long-term

It doesn’t, I’ve tried to diet before, and just wasn’t able to commit to it. Other than being able to commit to it or not, dieting is a short-term fix. It will help you look good for a special occasion few months away, but sooner than later, you will return back to unhealthy eating. For a long-term, you will need to change your lifestyle, eating healthy meals regularly is better for you body than crash dieting for a week and then eating junk food.

2. Learn to Plan your Meals

It becomes difficult to meal plan when you are living with family, but living alone, I was able to plan out what I’ll be eating for next 4 days, based on that, I would know exactly what to buy when I went to grocery shop. Of course, certain ‘cheat’ days would spring up, when I don’t feel like cooking, or when I’m eating out with friends. But as a whole, eating ‘healthy’ and cooking your meals rather than ordering a takeout, helps reduce weight. Also, skipping meals is a no-no, because if you skip one meal, you might binge in the next meal.

3. Basic Workout is Necessary

I’m not a avid gym-goer, but as my lifestyle is mostly sedentary, due to long working hours at a desk-job, and then being too tired to do anything else, it is important to exercise on a regular basis,  but no need for an extreme workout. a short run would keep your calories in check, and would give you stamina.

 

“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.” -Unknown

 

🙂 FTK

Photo Credit: Visual Hunt.com

The Student-To-Employee Transition

I still tend to call myself a ‘recent graduate’ even tough it’s been a year since I finished graduate-school – guess that the saying is true then – “Once a student always a student” (by Medbh Mcguckian)

So how has ‘work life’ been for me?

To start with – it is boring and tiring. But, it is exciting to see how my ‘theoretical knowledge’ comes to play in the real-world.

The Adjustment Phase
The transition period from student-to-work life is the toughest in my opinion. I never quite understood what I’m supposed to achieve, during my internship, and what was exactly expected of me. It was a learning curve, and I’m glad that is came to an end.
PROS: Learning something new every day
CONS: Feeling your confidence drop, as you struggle while learning the work (and being reminded that you are ‘so’ young, and getting an everyday does of ‘when I was your age…’)

The Getting-Used-To-It Phase
This is when things get a little easy because you have found your groove. You like the new routine and have managed to make friends at your workplace.
PROS: Getting back your confidence since you understand the work, and are in-sync with your office team.
CONS: This phase is often short-lived, as all good things come to an end.

The Routine Phase
Now you are a regular 9-to-5 workaholic.
PROS: You know the work and the organization well, and visa-versa
CONS: Routine can turn boring. Since you know the organization too well, you’ll constantly have to wiggle your way through to avoid any office-politics.

Last Minute advice to recent graduates

  • Smile and Nod: Even if you hate hat person, or have no idea what you are doing, remember you never know if they/it might end up helping you in the long-term.
  • Ask Questions: I found it very helpful to ask smart questions, either you will understand the work a bit more, or at least get a hint of what is expected of you.
  • Never Stop Learning: Always stay hungry for more knowledge, and pursue higher education based on your career goals.

And always remember: never, never, never give up – Winston Churchill

 

🙂 FTK
Photo Credit: Visual Hunt .com

The Night Circus: Review

13611052What wonderful world building! The writing kinda fell short (Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great) but it wasn’t able to draw out the full potential of the world created.

To start with the setting and world building, (it’s been a week since I finished the book, and still haven’t been able to forget the feel of the Circus). It was -magical-, not Harry Potter Magical, but magical in its own right. I was simply drawn into it, and its atmosphere, the sounds, the feel, everything. I’ve been a sucker for circus and caravan adventures, since ‘The Famous Five’ was one of the very first books, and ‘The Name of the Wind’ is my all-time-fav, and I thank Erin for creating “Le Cirque des Rêves”.

For the Writing; the book is divided into 6 parts, and chapters are noted with a month/year beside their titles. I’m not particularly fond of journal-type writing, especially when it’s not in chronological order. I kept flipping pages going back to the previous chapters, just to mentally arrange the event of each chapter in chronological order. The lack of a table of contents was literally gutting me. After every few chapters, a page would describe the circus, the tone would change from third-person, to directly addressing the reader. I didn’t find the importance of those inserts, until the very last chapters, where everything fell into place.

The development of the characters is gradual (ahem, very-very gradual) even though a span of 30 years is squashed into the book, the book never felt rushed. I personally found the first half quite boring. The second half of the book gets into the actual premise (a.k.a the competition) when everything starts to make sense, and by now the I actually cared enough about the characters (including the side-characters) that I became emotionally attached to them. The last 50-100 pages were difficult to put-down, and convinced me why I might eventually re-read this.

However, one may argue over a couple of plot points not explained or even left out completely, but I would give it the benefit-of-doubt and leave it as description details, not necessary for plot progression. The ending is satisfying overall, leaving you scraping around for more of “Le Cirque des Rêves”, but instead you’d be afraid that a possible addition in the series is more likely to break-it than to make-it.

Overall I gave a three, but half extra point for the marvelous world building – 3.5 out of 5 stars!