Culture Over Strategy – The Importance of Organizational Health
By Carl Hung,
Austrian management thinker Peter Drucker famously once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This quote emphasizes the importance of the people in a business, and the company culture they make up. For no matter how well strategized a plan, it will be rendered ineffective if the people within the company are not onboard with it. This approach has resonated most strongly with me since the pandemic began last year.
The pandemic, and its scale, was impossible to imagine, let alone prepare for, and as such, many companies have cracked under the pressure. Whilst our company also shuddered from the shock waves in the market set-off by Covid-19, I am most grateful that we are still standing tall, and I give all the credit to our team. The pandemic has put us in a situation of urgency that was unprecedented in our 46 years of history. We have overcome previous challenges posed by the 2003 SARs outbreak in Hong Kong, where we are headquartered, and also managed the component shortages in 2017/18. Yet, the impact of Covid-19 on the business is definitely a challenge like no other.
During this difficult period, what pulled the company through was the common goal of keeping the business afloat so that we could continue with our meaningful work of manufacturing products that are essential to human life. In the context of the pandemic, it was producing medical and health-related products. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, we have been part of the creation of a smart sanitizer dispenser for hospital/public area installation, a cleaning robot capable of spraying sanitisers in the air, we have launched an asset tracking project with a university for a local hospital, and developed an IoT solution to help track the cleaning schedule within a hotel. We are proud to have made our contributions for the global fight against Covid-19 in the face of site lockdowns, social distancing measures, disruptions to work and operation schedules, and supply-chain issues.
The motivation within the team was almost palpable when we were all driven in the same direction, with a common goal in mind. This experience reinforced my convictions that organizational health is one of the main pillars for the growth of a business. Organizational health is culture plus performance. The culture within organization health stems from the people within. As such, proper attention and investment in people is more than necessary, it’s essential! Only with a strong company culture can growth be driven and the business perform.
When we think of investing in our human resources, it is not only about aligning the vision of our global employees with that of the company, it is also about the recruitment of like minded individuals into the company. We look for individuals who are ‘hungry, humble, and smart’, and who embrace our core values of being kind, open, cool, and innovative, doing what’s right and having some fun along the way. The importance of working with a team of individuals that share the same attitude, core values, and vision towards work as those leading the company has never been more apparent. A sense of solidarity goes a long way in business, especially in a global company like this one. The pandemic has proven this to us time and time again.
Whilst company culture may not seem like an obvious priority during times of crisis, it is usually the very attribute of a company that will pull it through that crisis. When left neglected and to deteriorate, company culture could serve a lasting damage that is irreversible.
Let’s begin growing our businesses by caring for the people within.