This article focuses not on procedures or methods, but on corporate culture as a whole. Luckily, there is no conflict of opinions regarding the definition of corporate culture in business literature. It is understood as the unwritten code of conduct of particular group of people in the particular business. This refers not only to business men.
Corporate culture includes behavior of US marines, flight attendants or waiters of your favorite restaurant. That’s everything people do which does not fall within any written procedure. That’s something which one is not paid for or scolded for at the meetings. In a nutshell – that is the spirit of organization aimed at the most important thing which is serving the Clients.
Building corporate culture implies solving three problems. Let me start with a joke on the topic. “A boy asks his father: “Dad, what is incompetence and indifference to a Client?” Father replies: “I don’t know and I don’t care”.
So, there are only three problems in corporate culture of professional services company:
First is to maintain the highest professional level of your team.
Second is to achieve the maximum possible interest of each member of your team in your Client’s success.
Third is to make sure that your involved and competent professionals worked as a team.
Competence. To my mind, basic principles of business are quite simple. However it’s a much harder task to follow them.
You should understand that any professional has two alternative choices. First is to repeatedly do what he knows best every day and get the predictable income which will increase gradually in the long run. The growth will be insignificant but definite.
The second choice is to take on new projects. Of course, they should correspond with the core competence in order to have a steady ground and competitive advantage necessary to succeed. These new projects as well new Clients are the ever burning source of growing competence for a professional. On the other side, they may bring about mistakes and lower income. However they do provide long-lasting strength in the market.
It’s a common knowledge supported by experience that there are no professionals in the world who, just like Munchausen, would be able to keep constantly dragging themselves out of the routine of guaranteed income. Actually professionals often create organizations to encourage each other to leave comfort zone. At least, that’s one of the reasons they do so.
Attitude to a Client. The more you are able to tie long-term value of a company to income and career of each of your employees, the easier this point will be for you to work at. Please note that long-term value of a Client has priority over the income for the next month.
Another important issue is handling Client’s complaints. It’s my strong belief that the best kind of a Client is the one who does not complain or explain his problems but gives up on his account manager and the whole company at once without providing the reason for it.
If you are lucky enough to work with such demanding and even rude Clients, then you can consider it a jackpot. The more severe punishment you get for your mistakes, the better chance you will have to become high-profile and strong company. Let me give you an example
I am sure that everyone reading these lines has experience of companying to a chief doctor, CEO, call center supervisor or anyone else. They listen to you, say they are sorry, pronounce standard phrases which make you sick and … nothing changes!
Nothing changes because your counterpart does not take your stake into consideration. By stake I mean the money you have paid. It appears that you have put your money on it, but they were not even going to. The best thing your Client can do is spit in your face, kick your clerk’s ass and take all the money from your company. That’s the only way you will learn your lesson.
Unity. Last but not the least. How do you keep all your top-runners on friendly terms with each other, given the character and Client portfolios of each?
Another point is the number of goals set out for the company. Though it’s a simple truth, not every Ukrainian company follows it. The smaller amount of goals the team has to reach, the easier it will be to unite the employees and achieve those goals. The more devoted the top-manager is, the more goal-oriented department heads will be. And so on.
Finally, if you think that you can not manage a pack of wolves the same way you would manage a flock of sheep, then you are right. When wolfs disperse looking for individual prey, a pack turns into a flock. Each sheep strives for the nearest grass leaves. You are right in that, too.
Therefore my advice is not to forget your personal responsibilities. Leader’s task is to ensure that individuals can reach one goal as a team. At the same time, they would have never reached this goal, had they not united in an organization and chosen a leader.