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Corporate culture, leadership & knowledge

April 2022: In his latest blog, Mostafa Sayyadi explores how fostering a positive corporate culture can enhance company performance and customer satisfaction and how raising self-awareness can enable better leadership strategies. He also provides a new definition for knowledge management, drawing on technological and process-based perspectives


The future of corporate culture

There is a global need to cultivate a strong corporate culture to accomplish sustainable competitiveness in global markets. This strong corporate culture includes three areas – collaboration, trust and learning.

These play a critical role in improving innovation and enhancing the effectiveness of organisational knowledge management. For example, collaboration provides a shared understanding about the current issues and problems among employees, which helps to generate new ideas within organisations.

Trust in a leader’s decisions is also a necessary precursor to generate new knowledge and improve company performance through increased quality of products and services, while time spent learning is positively related to the amount of knowledge gained, shared and implemented, aiming at breaking through performance gaps in corporations.

Executives are very involved in cultural change initiatives and, by creating more effective workplaces in particular, developing people and shifting organisations towards the creation of new services and products.

Knowledge is a by-product of culture and culture’s role in guiding and facilitating people's action is the key to executive decision-making.

Through an effective company culture, executives can contribute to new products and services to meet dynamic market needs, through higher expectations and stimulation for new and strategic opportunities to meet the expectations of strategic goals and the needs of customers in the marketplace.

By influencing behaviour and providing valuable resources, executives can change the culture of an organisation for the better, making it hard for the competition to keep up.

Executives can act as change agents who provide a more humanistic and applicable approach, for example, by developing relationships in organisations to facilitate collaboration.

An executive can contribute to the cultural aspect of trust by considering both the employee’s individual interests and company’s essential needs. Executives can also identify the individual needs of employees and develop a learning culture to generate new knowledge and share it with others.

To build a collaboration culture, executives need to improve the degree to which employees actively support and provide significant contributions to each other in their work. They need to develop a collaborative work climate where employees are satisfied by the degree of collaboration between departments, and where they are supportive and helpful. There also needs to be a willingness to accept responsibility for failure.

To create a trust culture, executives need to build an atmosphere of trust and openness where employees are generally trustworthy and have reciprocal faith in other members' intentions and behaviours. They also need to have faith in others’ abilities and behaviours to work towards organisational goals, as well as in others’ decisions regarding organisational interests rather than individual interests. Finally, they need to have relationships based on mutual faith.

In order to foster a learning culture, executives need to enhance the extent to which learning is motivated within the workplace. They can contribute to the development of a learning workplace where various formal training programmes are provided to improve the performance of duties and where opportunities are provided for informal individual development, other than formal training, such as work assignments and job rotation. It also helps to encourage employees to attend external seminars, symposia and to introduce social mechanisms such as clubs and community gatherings. It is also important that employees are satisfied by the job training or self-development programmes.

Leading better post-pandemic

How can you lead better? When being a leader or manager, it can help to consider how you can lead more effectively. First, determine how you can lead people with a plan to work on them. It is time to tap your inner resources.  Write these inner resources down now, using a SWOT analysis to help. Then note how you can: Build on your strengths; lessen your weaknesses; take advantage of your opportunities; and avoid your threats. Next, identify obstacles and then write an action plan. A to-do list will help you reach your goals and objectives and then you can develop a personal strategy that is a major milestone in your work and personal life.

What can you start doing that will enhance your success as a leader or aspiring leader during the post-pandemic recovery? Are you on the right track? If so, do you value the things that will result in your high performance? Are you a team player? If so, how? If not, why not?

Once you determine your level of leadership and how you can lead yourself to be a great team player, use the four functions of management – planning, organising, leading and controlling – to help you succeed in your endeavours.

Now, as we face the post-pandemic recovery answer the following questions: How can I better control my performance so that I can achieve my goals and objectives? How can I lead myself better ascertain my goals and objectives? How can I become more organised in order to accomplish my goals and objectives? What plans can I make to ensure that my goals and objectives are met? Add the answers to your to-do list.

After identifying what makes you an effective leader, determine how you feel about your leadership style. What is the post-pandemic new work scenario for you?

Feel good about yourself and your work and career. Ascertain a high level of self-efficacy. Consider how you show courage. Think of how fearless or fearful you are. Do you respect your own fear? Do you attempt to master your awareness of fear? Do you act despite some level of fear being present? How can you address your own personal fear?

Redefining knowledge management

Now that we seem to be in the post-pandemic era, we may need a more modernised, clear understanding of the concept of knowledge management that synthesises and extrapolates prior definitions of knowledge management. This section aims to present a pertinent definition that can help organisations prosper with innovative and creative solutions to current and future problems that may arise.

While knowledge management is progressive and all-inclusive, it has incorporated the very fibre of organisations today – this can be seen in an organisation’s technology. The technological perspective represents a vital part of knowledge management, providing insight that plays a crucial role in an organisation’s connections across the organisational chart. Technology’s contribution to literature is vital for sharing knowledge, creating memory and disseminating information as a central component to the effectiveness and usefulness of knowledge management.

Everyone would agree that the post-pandemic recovery is a process. With any process, finding the best way to manage new knowledge to facilitate day-to-day operations from the office coupled with remote locations has been key to organisational success. Thus, the process perspective of knowledge management applies to the practice of operational risk management and how it is managed. Embodying new knowledge into day-to-day operations has always been pertinent to success. When the pandemic first began, disseminating the knowledge effectively was immediately improved upon so that the use of knowledge could be applied directly to the operational process. Using knowledge quickly, adequately, and appropriately can lead to resilience and protects organisations from an operations-risk-management perspective.

Based on these two perspectives, a comprehensive definition of knowledge management could be: “Knowledge management is an ongoing effort to improve organisational communication, build stronger technological and electronic networks, to constantly update and replenish knowledge as it exists in real-time, and to disseminate the most recent knowledge to the right people at the right time so that knowledge encourages individuals, stakeholders, and organisations to strive to improve continuously.”

Since knowledge management is so crucial for the post-pandemic recovery as organisations foster resilience, by embracing knowledge management as a corporate contingency, they can become more resilient.

The recovery is still vibrant and executives will continue to succeed with a viable compilation of knowledge management efforts. Leaders now need to continue to foster effective knowledge management practices.

This is not a time to let our guards down as leaders of the corporate world. We must embrace the recovery and build solid platforms to improve knowledge management initiatives and keep employees satisfied, equitable, and engaged.

Image: Lightwise/123rf


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