If your goal is to achieve a doubling of market share, you will need a long term strategy. In this article, we learn how to get your organisation working towards a culture of innovation by engaging with a dedicated and engaged workforce. This week on Asian Tyde Podcast, we talked to Mr. Ibrahim Adzhar, with 40+ years of experience in HR, about his key lessons on how important it is to have a long term mindset, and how it can be a game-changer in leading your organization through the transformation.
* Click to thumbnail below to watch full podcast episode
The importance of having HR strategies dedicated to business strategy development
We know what kind of business organisations need in order to grow: innovation, competitive advantage, high performance, high quality and customer-centricity.
In a world where there is a lot of new technology, the rules and structure will change but they haven't adapted. The problem with that is when technology changes, so do the role and the responsibility. That's why there's such an emphasis on HR. They are the ones that have to keep up with what technology has to offer. The way HR has managed that transition in the past is by bringing the organization together. HR must have the flexibility, and agility, to be able to adapt to the changing environment. And that can be very hard to do if they haven't really made the strategic decisions to make sure they are doing the right thing at the right time.
"In order to deliver external branding, you need to create strong internal branding, which is basically what we call culture. Given that as our direction and given that as our motivator, we did push a lot of things to be different, to be dynamic and to be daring." - said Adzhar. "In 2004, we created a flat headquarters, giving away title, rooms, cubicles and everything else to create a special organization". And he explains this culture in detail: "It's about creating an environment where people are willing to fail, where people are willing to take risks, where people are willing to explore, where people are willing to learn".The success internally is reflected in the external success of being able to grab revenue market share: they growing by 5-10% of the market is growing by 10 or 20%.
Why should HR have a long-term perspective on its own work?
In this case, it comes down to strategic decisions, which should have been made for many years. Adzhar explains this is the reason why HR needs to have a long term strategy: "I think the most important part about the HR function is that it is more than just about keeping up with the technological changes and other issues in the business. It's about making sure that whatever is happening in the business, and wherever it is happening, the HR function can be at the centre of that, or in front of that. It is about bringing the organization together to align them, not only from an external perspective but also internally. You need to be able to align people around a set of common values, principles, vision, mission, purpose, and so forth. Otherwise, it's impossible to get anything done."
For Adzhar, innovation means change. Change can be a good thing or a bad thing. But as Adzhar reminds us, in order to see a good thing happening, you have to see it as a good thing. Innovation is not a one-off event but a continuous process. And Adzhar shares this with us: "You have to make sure that you have the right culture in place, that people are willing to take risks, that people are willing to fail, that people are willing to explore, that people are willing to learn.
Moreover, it's not only about improving the workforce; it's about creating a more inclusive and diversified environment that will foster better performance. Inclusive environments are characterized by employees of different genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and ages.
How to create a common ground for a company with its vision and mission?
Whereas a company may have a good vision and mission, it is often lacking a common ground and a common understanding of this vision and mission. Adzhar says: "If you're an organization that is looking to improve itself, you can't be afraid of change. You can't be afraid of taking risks. And if you are, you won't be able to innovate or move forward".
As Adzhar explained, when you bring in different kinds of people with different ways of thinking, you have to find a way to make them all work together as a team. What this means is that you will have to find a way for them to understand and accept each other's way of working. Common ground is simply that which everyone in the company accepts as being true. It is the bedrock on which the organization is built. And what is common ground is what binds the organization together. Common ground does not need to be written down or stated in a mission statement; it is a deeply embedded set of values, principles, and beliefs that permeate the entire organization.
Adzhar is very clear that the key to a diverse organization is hiring the right people for the job. He explains that when people come in, they should be evaluated on the basis of their ability and potential. He further adds that a diverse organization has to embrace diversity in terms of gender, age, race, religion, etc. This will create a more inclusive environment. Inclusive environments are characterized by employees of different genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and ages. In other words, having a diverse workforce can have a tremendous impact on how the company is perceived by its clients.
This will bring about positive results in terms of the bottom line. "A diverse team brings out the best in everyone", Adzhar says. "It creates a better work environment and it makes the company a better place to work. A diverse team will have more creativity. It will create a better product and better service.
And then Adzhar says: "You will get the best ideas from your people when they're free to think out of the box and share their opinions. They will give you the best ideas and suggestions when they are not restricted by the fear of making mistakes, that they are not limited by the fear of not doing things right. And for this to happen, you need to be able to build trust and trust is a very deep thing. If you cannot trust your people, or they cannot trust you, then you don't have a team. And wherever you have to be extremely dysfunctional and is not going to be able to have the organization."
The way to get there is to create an environment that supports collaboration. An inclusive environment where people can bring their strengths to bear in ways that would otherwise not happen. It's not about hiring or promoting people on the basis of ethnicity or gender, or any other characteristics. It's about creating an environment that is safe for people to share their ideas, insights, and opinions. And you will be able to create a much more vibrant and inclusive environment, which will foster better performance. Learn how to implement a healthy company's culture with TYDE Consulting, using Process Communication ModelⓇas an innovative tool. Find your own course here.