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Daniel Damilola Nejo

Business Strategies

Company Culture – An Instrument To Employee Productivity

What is Company Culture and how can it be an instrument to increase employee’s productivity? Well, am glad you asked. In simple terms – Company Culture are the basic held in mind frameworks which consists of assumptions and values which guides the way individuals in an organization think, perceive, behave and expect others to behave within the organization and these values and frameworks are taught to new members of the company.

From the definition, you would have already guessed that it’s a crucial element of a company and isn’t something that happens overnight, it takes time and conscious actions from the “leader”. I remember the definition of culture back when I was in elementary school, we used to define culture as “a way of life” , that couldn’t be more true. Same goes for company culture, it is the way of life of people in a company. It saddens my heart to see businesses go astray in the way they deal with employees within their companies.

Laszlo Bock, Head of People Operations at Google talks about a distinction of how companies treat employees – some treat employees like “Machines” instead of “Owners” , machines do their jobs while owners do whatever is needed to achieve the company’s and team goals.  Some companies still operate in the Industrial Economy way of thinking where they believe they “own” and “control” people when fast thinking businesses have moved to the Information Economy where it is more of the ownership and control of information rather than people. In simple terms, these businesses are Dinosaurs in their way of thinking.

Machines do their jobs while Owners do whatever is needed to achieve the company’s and team goals.

It gets funny when small to medium businesses then wonder why big brands like Google and Facebook are making so much progress. In my opinion, their culture plays a great role in the growth of the business, employees feel  free to be creative – they feel like owners.

If you are a small to medium business owner and would like to understand what company culture is all about and how to build one which encourages high freedom and creativity from employees, kindly read along. In this post,  I will love to talk about two organizational culture types and how each affects employee’s productivity.

The Clan Culture. My favorite type of company culture, the clan culture is defined by Whatis.com as a family-like or tribe-like type of corporate environment that emphasizes consensus and commonality of goals and values. The bond which holds the workers in the company together is a shared vision of their needs, their goals and their sanctioned ways in which things should be done. There tend to be no need for hierarchy, fancy job tittles or emphasis on positions.

Everyone is a team trying to achieve a common goal. The employer is commitment and employee engagement tends to promote empowerment and loyalty that will drive productivity and business success. Employees are free to innovate and think creatively. They are not placed in a box where they have to think, behave and perform in specific rigid ways. This culture breeds an environment where employees are more cooperative and supportive of one another than competitive, everyone wants everyone to win because everyone is trying to achieve a common goal. The leaders love to give power to the employee, they are not stuck on their position, they follow and them this enables them lead accurately.

The employees are self-organizing and self-motivated and this makes them very productive because they feel like they are part of something – “team” if you would like to call it by a fancy term.

The Leach Culture Opposite to the Clan culture, the leach culture is one where the company is only concerned about the value that can be extracted from the employee, no genuine interest in the employee”s affairs. It’s all about what can you deliver?! The “top executives” of companies with this kind of culture always love and cherish their job tittle, if they can wear a customized shirt that reads “Am the founder, Director and Head of international monetary affairs” they would!.

They love to have power and feel powerful. Money is the main motivation and measure of success within the company is money, money and money! The employees in this companies feel like they are not part of a team even though the “top executives” pretend and say WE ARE ALL A TEAM!

They feel like they are a third party in the organisation and are only there to do their work, get their salary and make the company more money, this culture tend to make employee grow no real and genuine passion for the company”s goal and ambitions.

Things get dirty quickly ; If an employee isn’t “making money” he is fired! No real interest in trying to understand what the problem is, how it can be solved, what the termination will cause to the team , what the employee needs inorder to perform better. Remember, they just want to leach value.

Although each employee has a “job tittle” unique to them and their skills for which they were employed for, they don’t fully own the role. The “top executives” with little or no idea of how to “run things” in that role are too concerned about watching and monitoring the employee rather than doing their own task.

The employees are mostly neither self-motivated nor self-organized, even a person with a track record of self-motivation would quickly begin to loose such motivation and only do what his/her job spec says. To ensure staff self-motivation, self-organization and loyalty, business owners need to move their mindset and ways of conducting business from the industrial economy ways of thinking to the information economy way of thinking inorder to improve employee productivity. To sum everything up, watch the below 2minute video by Gary Vaynerchuk on how small business owners can build great cultures.

Last words, The Leach Culture was formulated by me based on my experience working with a company. Whats your thoughts on the different types of culture listed above?

I would love to know what you think and any more advice you have for business owners in building great cultures.

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Business Strategies

Understanding The Meaning of QUALITY For Your Business

Quality is free. Think about that statement for a moment. I am one of those people who used to think that quality should cost but from understanding the real meaning of quality as explained by quality gurus like Crosby, Deming, Joseph Juran, Feigenbawn and my very interesting Quality Management lecturer – Dr Brodie ( I know my classmates wouldn’t agree with the “interesting” part but who cares 🙂 , I have been able to understand that quality is actually free. Really, to achieve a quality product or service standard, you don’t have to spend more, its free. Read on to understand what I mean. (more…)

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Business Strategies

Plan To Run A Business? CRM is a must!

CRM is one of the buzz words that has been going around for a while now, as an entrepreneur and hustler it is important that you are in the know of what it means because smart businesses and big brands are taking advantage of it to scale higher. In its true meaning, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Alot of people always mistake CRM for a software or even worst an excel spreadsheet. I hear statements like “We need a new CRM!” (more…)

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Business Strategies

Understand and Emulate Amazon’s Business Strategy

Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos is the largest and most successful Internet-based retailer in the United States The world. Amazon started as an online book retailer in 1994 in Washington and moved ahead to becoming a global leader in e-commerce with a very wide selection of products, amazing customer experience, world wide network of fulfllment, 28,000 + plus employees and a business that has “stickiness” ( i.e being able to bring customers back – again, again and again ) Amazon utilizes the Cost Leadership Strategy to gain competitive advantage, this doesn’t only place the company as a leader in it’s industry but also attracts customers for them.

They also  make use of EDLP ( Every Day Low Price ) technology. If you haven’t read my post on Strategies to gain competitive advantage for your business, kindly read here To become such a successful brand, there are some behind the scene strategies that the company makes use of inorder to kick competitor’s butt and gain large market share. This post is not to “big up” amazon, rather, it is to “expose” the behind the scene strategies used by the company, so, hustlers, entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses can take advantage of a proven model.

Amazon’s Strategy

‘To ‘Get Big Fast’ by investing aggressively in new product categories and new businesses, by spending money on brand awareness and getting new customers.’

Amazon’s Mission

‘To leverage technology and the expertise of our invaluable employees to provide our customers with the best shopping experience on the Internet.’

Amazon’s Vision

To be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.’

Amazon’s Objectives

‘Not to discount a small number of products for a limited period of time, but to offer low prices everyday and apply them broadly across our entire product range.’

Amazon’s Core Value Proposition

  • Price

  • Convenience

  • Wide Selection

The below diagram explains the Strategy used by Amazon.com. I will try to break i down as follows : Inorder for the company to experience Growth, there is a need to create a Lower Cost Structure which will translate to Lower Prices for their customers and in turn improve Customer Experience which is tied to the fact that customers can browse through a wide Selection of Products with Convenience which is made possible by the numerous independent Sellers on the Amazon.com platform. All this combined together brings Traffic to the website and makes them a global leader in e-commerce.

Another interesting strategy by Amazon is it’s ability to improve, innovate and leverage on its success to build and introduce new categories for its business as the years go by. As stated earlier, it started off as an Online Book Retailing Store in 1994. In 1999 it added the Auctions & zShops.

With bigger dreams and aspirations to become a one-stop shop for books , it opened it’s doors to independent authors with the introduction of its Marketplace in 2000. To enable it provide faster deliveries to its ever increasing customer base it created Strategic Partnerships & Logistic Services in 2001. Amazon launched it’s full flesh E-commerce Platform/ Web Services in 2002 and introduced the E-book / Kindle in 2007. 2009 and 2013 saw the introduction of Amazon Publishing and Amazon Autorip respectively…and the list goes on. 🙂

One thing to grab from Amazon’s business model evolution above, is it’s ability to evolve, improve, innovate and not get too comfortable with it’s successes. Hustlers and small business owners can take a close look at Amazon’s Vision, Mission, Objective, Strategy and Value Proposition to create the underlining principles and building blocks that forms their business.  

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Internet

If Your Website Sucks – So Does Your Brand

I cannot count how many times have had to explain to businesses that their website is an extension of their brand. In this internet age, a company without a website can easily be passed off as “non-existent”, thinking things cannot even get worse , a company with a poor website can easily be termed “not-serious”.

This is something big brands are aware of and that is why they invest so much in their online presence. Although  I said; “invest so much”, websites can be a cost effective way of creating a distinctive brand for yourself as an entrepreneur or a small business owner. Getting a kick ass website in this day and age isn’t as hard or expensive as it used to be but it is important to understand that in the website design world these days – what you pay for is what you get!

So, stop looking for the cheapest options or designers in third world countries. Instead, think like a strategic hustler / entrepreneur, try get someone who you can create a strategic relationship with to get a modern and clean website at an affordable price where you both are happy. ( Also, please DO NOT be tempted to design your website yourself if you are not a seasoned designer ) . I remember the time I worked with a startup business in London who makes close to £1,000,000 in revenue every year.

They had a website which they had someone design when they started the company about 4-5years ago. The website was poor. They started to get complains and started to loose e-trust ( when potential clients begin to mis-trust your business based on their view and perception of your online presence) , their clients complaints was nothing far from “You claim to be a top London firm in X industry, how can you expect me to spend X amount of pounds with you if you cannot spend a couple pounds on a clean website“.

Not trying to be funny but their website looked like a kid’s first HTML project.

A simple switch In employing my service to re-design and revamp their online presence made them look bigger than they are, feel proud to send potential clients to their website and increase the user’s experience of their website. In simple terms, their website became on par with their brand. With a website, an hustler can look like a small business , a small business can look medium and a medium business can look BIG! Its called “e-Branding” ( i literally just formulated that word 🙂 ).

With that been said, no matter what your hustle is, if you are trying to make it bigger than it is now, get yourself a clean website. It doesn’t have to be too fancy, it should be modern, clean, easy to navigate, easy to contact you and the most importantly – mobile friendly. This very little and cost effective gesture of getting your website right will strengthen your brand’s online presence.

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Quality Strategies

Create Amazing Products & Team With SCRUM

I remember when my Quality Management lecturer gave us a small class test. She said – ‘Write down what you know about SCRUM, the roles , the advantages and everything.” I was shocked, SCRUM? What the heck is SCRUM? Is this one of those fancy terms in this Quality Management Course? Before I knew it, a friend sitting next to me started writing down things about SCRUM on a paper and it dawned on me that they had been taught SCRUM earlier in the course when I was not a member of the course ( Why I joined late to the course is a story for another time 🙂 ) .

(more…)

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