By Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya                            

The buzz in the market space is the promotion of company culture and I normally wonder how that can work for a person that lacks the understanding of personal culture.  I mean how a CEO who knows nothing about family values, culture, or even personal responsibility inculcates culture in his/her team members, which should be embedded in the company?  

I looked at my family and I muse, do my children understand fully what our family culture entail?  Have I ever spelt it out to them that this and that, is what we are in this family and these are the reasons why I do certain things the way I do them? Why it is important to shun television in the wee hours before going to school, why do you have to do your chores before you go to school? The family times we have; all the cute little things that we do together as a family and why we do them. I continued musing and I felt well, I must have missed the point and the essence of all these efforts we’ve put in may be misplaced if we don’t do things the right way or be explicit about what we really do stand for…

So, at one of our daily family meetings, I threw the question first to my eight-year-old. Do you know what our family cultures are?  She asked, “culture?”, squinting her eyes as if that would convey additional meaning of what she is saying. All three looked at me, I asked the two teenagers. The thirteen-year-old among them then said: “Okay, I know that respect is one of the values that we hold dear in this family. Respect for all the elders we know, and we don’t know. The way you make us greet people even those we do not know”. The eldest one, who is now seventeen, said simply, “love” and then gave incidences that depicted the culture of love amongst us. Okay then smiling, I told them “now that you understand where exactly I am going, I think I have to give you an assignment. Write out the culture you think we have in this house as it relates to the activities that we do. From the time that we wake up to the times we go to bed. You submit tomorrow same time.” I told them.

Most of us are oblivious of the need to inculcate culture in ourselves. Do we even understand what it means? Starting from us as individuals and cascading to our loved ones and the people that surround us daily. It is only when we are well grounded in the values we hold dear that we are certified enough to drum it into the people we work with.

You may ask what does culture mean, anyway? Well, I searched. Amongst all the definitions I searched, one that I love the most is that of which is all encompassing. It states:  “Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts” for any individual to be cultured you must have imbibed these traits which are a part of who you are and what you represent as a person.

Thus, a company culture is the same thing as a family culture. But you must have had a cultural background full of values to bring to bear on your work. Aligning it with the aims and objectives of what your company stands for and where exactly you want to take the company to… A company culture bespoke how a healthy company demands; evident in the attitude of the employees, in aligning their core personal values with that of the company’s says a lot about a healthy corporate culture & values for each employee in the organization, regardless of his job duties, a consequence of result, productivity, accomplishing company’s goals and objective as well as that of the employee.

Essentially, a company culture strengthens and empowers team membership whereby it improves and stimulates productivity naturally.  When the corporate culture mechanisms are efficient and duly incorporated in the consciousness of the company’s structure, every other mechanism would naturally follow suit.

Like my children identified in my family, some very essential ingredients of culture are enumerated below. The CEO must first ensure that(s)he must have imbibed it in herself/himself or family before extending it into the company. Modeling is the best programming team membership see, to take ownership of the company.

The following cultures are recommended for every company small or large.

Love and Harmony- Love reigns supreme in the activation of duties in every civilized environment. This must be seen to pervade and overcome all personal, religious and tribal differences.

Creativity. Every company must ensure this is well grounded in all that they do. The culture of creativity should go beyond just culture. It must be instilled in every fiber the company represents. It is one of the branding metrics for every company.

Productivity. Team members must love what they do, it ensures productivity. It makes us do it better and faster. This is reflected naturally in the fulfillment of the corporate culture.

Communication. Sharing information and ideas is a central feature of what a company entails. Open communication must be promoted so that team members are abreast with happenings in and around the company so that everyone would be on the same page and, together, drive the main objective that the company need.

 No Gossip rule. I heard this from the Dave Ramsey’s programs, the Entre-leader (I’m a big fan). In my constant musings I discovered that the NO- Gossip rule is very effective when properly implemented and drummed into each member of the company. It eradicates every kind of evil omen from the company and set the team members on track. Saying more for the company and all she stands for. It is EVIL to speak about one you profess to love and nurtures team spirit.

Community/Team Spirit. Team spirit is one of the most signifant company cultures possessing a communal feel in and around the office, an element that motivates more people to show up at the office. The worst kind of human evil is when the community of team members are all against you and the company is pristine and all too formal pretentious. Working together is a culture that must be inculcated, practiced and when all the preceding elements above are fulfilled in every team member, the team spirit nurtures the feel of community.

Growth. Continuous growth is an item that must be inculcated in every family or company culture. It brings out the best in every individual, which prepares them for relevance and contribution to their family and unto their community. 

Editor’s Note

Charity they say begins at home, and we need to be well adjusted in the kind of values we hold dear, let us be able to imbibe it, model it before extending or teaching it to the people around us.

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