The story of corporate culture

In Corporate Culture on August 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm

In one of the company, where I worked few years back, corporate culture had a different meaning. The terms like Motivation, Collaboration, Innovation, Governance etc. all had theoretical meanings and were often published in the company journals. In reality, these terms even had no distant connection with the company’s culture and values. The company is a mid-sized company and develops software products for a particular segment. The company is driven by kith and kins of the senior management.

When I joined the company, I was introduced to the team members. While I introduced myself, I felt a bit of disappointment to see the disinterest among the team members. Few did a formal handshake, whereas, few members were so lazy that I had to hold their hand tight else it would slip from my hand. It was like you picked a hand

Credit: Sanja Gjenero, Croatia

of a dead man for handshake. The team members had no energy left to even introduce themselves.

When I started working, I started experiencing extreme boredom. The atmosphere was sick and full of distraction. Teams of other products also shared the hall and discussions and jokes were loud. Often the chat window on my computer screen popped a message “Come here”. The message used to come from an extreme right computer that my product manager (PM) used. Being a new employee, I used to rush to his place and sit next to him. It was uncertain why you were called and remained a mystery. After an hour or two, I was asked to go to my place. The discussion had no connection with the task that I was doing. No freedom for clarifications and no specifications. Once I asked for the specification and I got a weird reply: “Only fools need specifications”.

OK, I said to myself. I am a fool and so desire specification. I murmured, “Your company is so great that it works without specifications and other documentations”. There was nothing like collaboration. Team members were asked not to talk much with other members. Innovation had a totally different meaning. Most of the time you would encounter code that you found somewhere in Google. Some of my friends changed the motto of the company to: “Powered by CTRL + C, Driven by CTRL + V”.

If you use computer, you must be aware of these keys. This key combination is used to copy and paste text from one place to another.

I had a hard time in that company. Later I moved to a company where I could see in reality what Corporate Culture meant. The company ethics reflected in the employees. Even before I cleared the interview, the staff was so courteous and polite that I felt I am already an employee of this company. I could feel the energy and professionalism as I stepped in the campus. For the first time I came to know what is meant by Best-Practices and how the strategies change with time.

Based on my experience, I summed up few points that I feel is what true Corporate Culture means:

(1) Concern for individual values & individual growth.

(2) Continuous improvement and learning.

(3) Innovation and freedom to fail.

(4) Freedom to share ideas.

(5) Collaboration and motivation.

(6) Flexible to adapt to new changes.

(7) Timed review of the best-practices.

(8) Energetic and pleasant working conditions.

(9) Strict and un-biased governance.

(10) Transparency with employees.


A company cannot survive for a long period if there is no concern for individual values and if it is driven by biased governance. Freedom to share ideas and freedom to fail leads to innovation. If motivation is added as an essential ingredient, employee satisfaction and interest grows. The result is trust.


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