HR: Culture Cultivation in a Start-up

Under start up 101 Protima Sharma (Founder director of PeopleWiz) offered a lecture on Culture cultivation: crux of start-up business model. The lecture was directed towards how a start up or an budding entrepreneur should implement strong strategies and policies in their respective organisation.
Protima showed a video to begin the talk, the video was about Hotel Taj and how they handled the crisis during the terrorist attack that took place on 26th November 2008. Taj employees instead of abandoning their posts and evacuating to safety stayed back offered the guests protection and safe passages off the hotel during the attack. The escaped/rescued guests returned to their posts in the safe areas in and around hotel and participated and helped in the rescue operations and handling the communications in any way they can. The video set the tone for the talk as the viewers were blown away by the commitment and dedication highlighted in the video.

Following are the key points that were pointed out by Protima in her talk highlighting the key concepts that should be at the heart of the organisational structure.
– The organisation should always have the right attitude, integrity and devotion. If these qualities are kept at the core then the organisation tends to be strong.
– All the new recruits should undergo extensive in house training to have a clear cut understanding of the organisation.
– Every worker should be given an immediate (under 48 hr) reward by the immediate supervisors post appreciation of his work by a customer.
– There is no good or bad culture in a organisation, there is only strong and weak culture. Weak culture can set an organisation back because of the cascading effect it might have on the other processes.
– The best organisations empower their employees, making them independent and autonomous. The employees will make mistakes but if the mistakes are within the limits then letting them sort it out themselves (with the organisational head knowing) helps them have more confidence in the structure of the institution and improves their productivity. Micro-managing can be more destructive than constructive in the long term.
– Always be aware of the strength and weaknesses of yourself and your organisation. This helps in strategising for opportunities and threats that you mind endure.
– Always be sure what you and your organisation want to be remembered for, what legacy you want to create.

Protima highlighted examples like Apple is famous for their design, Dell for their supply chain, Body-shop for environmental protection and Volvo for safety. In addition she added that airbnb has a wow factor which is their values and that is what separates them from the rest.

In summary, Protima said a good culture in an organisation is based on 5 key things.
i. Vision : purpose of the company
ii. Values : guidelines for moving towards this better purpose
iii. Practices : correct practices drive the values
iv. People : core people sharing the same drive
v. Narrative : need to have a unique story to tell

As additional comments, Protima suggested some books that helped her figure out certain crux and crannies of the culture cultivation.

These books are:
i. Responsive Management
ii. Crucial Conversations
iii. Maverick
iv. Reinventing organisation

v. team of teams
vi. The quiet