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Culture and ethical practice form the real face of business

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An aerial view of Nairobi City Hall.

Photo/FILE An aerial view of Nairobi City Hall. It pays Sh140 million per month against an average monthly revenue collection of Sh400 million.  

By CANUTE WASWA

Posted  Monday, April 30  2012 at  18:25

In Summary

ISO certification cannot rid City Hall of the ills and incompetence plaguing it

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Wonders never cease. City Hall is ISO certified.

Now, for your information, ISO certified organisations are required to maintain quality standards around their procedures and processes. Their policies must be documented and communicated to all relevant personnel and the management must ensure that the documents are understood and implemented.

Barely two weeks ago, PwC produced a report that 92 per cent of the Council’s 11,392 employees are ‘incompetent’!

It found that more than nine-out-of-ten City Hall employees were either semi-skilled or unskilled, a fact that seriously impairs the Council’s efficiency. More than half of NCC employees never progressed beyond primary school education.

For a Council where 70 per cent of its expenditure goes to staff costs, about Sh580 million per month, the PwC report estimated that some 3,676 of those currently employed are surplus to requirements.

Organisational culture

Now, before you laugh out too loud, let me remind you that a company rises and falls on its culture. Culture is the values and practices shared by the members of the group. Your company’s culture, therefore, is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees.

Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors.

Some studies report the difference at 200 per cent or more. To achieve results like this for your organisation, you have to figure out what your culture is, decide what it should be, and move everyone toward the desired culture. Organisation cultures evolve and change over time.

As employees leave the company and replacements are hired the company culture will change. If it is a strong culture, it may not change much.

However, as each new employee brings their own values and practices to the group, the culture will change, at least a little. As the company matures from a startup to a more established company, the culture will change. As the environment in which the company operates changes, the company culture will also change.

Building a strong culture is a key priority for entrepreneurs.

Nothing is more important when it comes to recruiting and building a team. Your team determines your success and the way your team interacts will be largely affected by the culture you build at the beginning. But how and where do you start?

When you bring on new team members, their experience and skills are clearly important (and a pre-requisite).

However, I would argue that cultural fit is even more important. It only takes one bad apple to throw off the vibe of an entire team.

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