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Continued from Previous……
Every organization has a value system. Having said that, the value systems are not the same, these have many shapes and shades.
Most organizations do not formally recognize their value system, much less document it. Values evolve over long periods of time through contributions of owners and the employees. An organization is like a family, if a family allows lying, the children end up lying. When the father tells the children to tell the visitor he is not home while he is sitting right there, he is teaching them two values. One, that it is okay to lie when needed; two, it is more convenient to lie than speaking the truth. If this happens repeatedly over time, which it does, the value system of the family adapts itself around it.
The organizations run the same way. Lying, cheating, deceiving customers, breaking promises, making false promises deliberately to ward off immediate threats, compromising quality of product/ service are just some things that happen routinely in most organizations. On the staff side, coercion, bad behavior, bad attitude, disrespect, and threats are prevalent. The employees have to survive somehow because of two reasons. One, they do not have other job options; two, they will find the same things in the next job also. Over time, the value system of the organization evolves in the following manner.
Maintaining Status Quo – it is advisable to continue doing what is done already and in the same way. The threat for causing turbulence is too big and can quickly result in job loss. What has been seen in the animal experiments based on threat-conditioning, happens to people also. Even after the threat is no more there, the staff shall maintain the same practices because their minds have been conditioned accordingly. Scaling up means disturbing the status quo, and no one wants any part of it willingly. When scaling up is done under compulsion, it either fails, or evolves haphazardly.
Aversion to Innovation – there is an active aversion to innovation. No one wants to generate new ideas, or bring in new practices, or even change the way the things are done because it gets into conflict with the above – status quo. Lack of innovation is a different issue when people may not have opportunity to innovate or may not be capable of innovation. We are talking of a conscious effort not to innovate.
Scaling up requires continuous innovation because growth demands frequent changes. An active antagonism to innovation is more damaging than lack of innovation.
Deceits, Lies, Misinformation – seeing what happens every day, the staff comes to believe that deceiving, lying, and spreading misinformation about others is acceptable. Considering that many of them bring these values from their homes already, these values are further nurtured and nourished every day, and get firmly grounded.
Does lying, cheating, deceiving interfere with scaling up? Yes, it does. Scaling up requires cohesive team effort in an integrated manner. When team members do not trust each other, they are unlikely to function as a team and scaling up efforts stall.
Disrespect – is another common issue. The owners behave badly with the staff and then the seniors also behave poorly with their juniors. The employees can either react and lose job, or they can learn to accept and live with it. The engagement and motivation fall to the ground and hatred and repulsion takes its place. I have seen people deliberately spoiling things discretely and taking out revenge in several small ways. Scaling up would be resisted at every step in this environment.
Culture also develops over time. It is the sum of behaviors of the organization staff, the way they interact with one another, the way they do cross-functional work, and the way they look at growth.
Culture is related to value system. If the values are sound, ethical, and honest, the culture of fairness, justice and merit evolves. If the values are unethical, wavering, and dishonest, the resulting culture will be based on stealing, cheating, and stopping rather than doing jobs.
A culture of growth is conducive to scaling up whereas a culture of redundancy works against it.
Together, the values and culture determine the fate of scaling up efforts. I wish to say here that the business growth of an organization should not be confused with scaling up. Business growth may result even in the most negative environment because many external factors like market opportunity, market growth, pricing, competitive rivalry, and business practices play to produce business. Scaling up is the process through which the whole organization is grown; the infrastructure, the people, capacity, capability, all move together.
The question may still come that if the business success can be achieved by doing lot of wrong things, why does anyone have to take the trouble of doing many right things. The answer in simple terms is that a scaling up organization is always ready for the future, its growth, its opportunities, and its promises. Redundant organizations depend entirely on the entrepreneur for the burden of growth.
To be Continued……
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