quarta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2011

How Great Companies Think Differently - Parte III

Affirming purpose and values through service is a regular part of how great companies express their identities. In June 2011, IBM celebrated its 100th anniversary by offering service to the world. Over 300,000 IBMers signed up to perform 2.6 million hours of service on a global service day. They contributed training and access to software tools, many of them developed specially for the occasion, to schools, governmental agencies, and NGOs. Projects included training on privacy and antibullying in 100 schools in Germany; a new website developed in India for the visually impaired, with a launch at 50 locations; and access to small-business resources for women entrepreneurs in the United States. The company gave the tools away, even in cases where the software could form the basis for commercial products, to demonstrate IBM’s commitment to being a contributor to society.

A Long-Term Focus

Thinking of the firm as a social institution generates a long-term perspective that can justify any short-term financial sacrifices required to achieve the corporate purpose and to endure over time.

Keeping a company alive requires resources, so financial logic demands attention to the numbers. However, great companies are willing to sacrifice short-term financial opportunities if they are incompatible with institutional values. Those values guide matters central to the company’s identity and reputation such as product quality, the nature of the customers served, and by-products of the manufacturing process. Banco Real, for instance, created a screening process to assess potential customers’ societal standards as well as their financial standing. The bank was willing to walk away from those that did not meet its tests of environmental and social responsibility. This short-term sacrifice was prudent risk management for the longer term.

Companies using institutional logic are often willing to invest in the human side of the organization—investments that cannot be justified by immediate financial returns but that help create sustainable institutions. In South Korea, after the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Shinhan Bank set out to acquire Chohung Bank, a larger and older bank that the government had bailed out. The moment the acquisition was announced, 3,500 male employees of a Chohung Bank union, whose ranks extended to management levels, shaved their heads in protest and piled the hair in front of Shinhan’s headquarters in downtown Seoul. The acquirer then had to decide whether to go ahead with the acquisition and, if it did so, what it ought to do about Chohung’s employees.

Shinhan’s leaders applied institutional logic. They negotiated an agreement with the Chohung union, deferring formal integration for three years, giving equal representation to both Shinhan and Chohung managers on a new management committee, and increasing the salary of Chohung employees to match the higher wages of Shinhan employees. The acquirer also handed out 3,500 caps to cover the heads of the protestors. Shinhan invested heavily in what it called “emotional integration,” holding a series of retreats and conferences intended not only to spread strategic and operational information but also to foster social bonding and a feeling of being “one bank.” According to financial logic, the acquirer was wasting money. In terms of Shinhan’s institutional logic, the investments were an essential part of securing the future.

The result: Within 18 months, Shinhan had grown both banks’ customer bases, and the Chohung union was having a hard time fomenting discontent against the benign acquirer. Although a formal merger wouldn’t occur for another year and a half, Shinhan and Chohung employees were working together on task forces and discussing best practices, and ideas were spreading that began to make the branches look more similar. Employees were, in essence, self-organizing. By the third year, when formal integration took place, Shinhan was outperforming not only the banking industry but also the South Korean stock market.

Emotional Engagement

The transmission of institutional values can evoke positive emotions, stimulate motivation, and propel self-regulation or peer regulation.

Utilitarian rationality is not the only force governing corporate performance and behavior inside organizations; emotions play a major role, too. Moods are contagious, and they can affect such issues as absenteeism, health, and levels of effort and energy. People influence one another, and in doing so they either increase or decrease others’ performance levels, as my study of teams and organizations on winning and losing streaks reveals (see my book Confidence, Crown, 2004). Well-understood values and principles can be a source of emotional appeal, which can increase employee engagement. Having a statement of values has become common, so the issue is not whether a set of words called “values” exists somewhere in the company. Adhering to institutional logic makes the regular articulation of values core to the company’s work. The CEOs of companies I studied, whether headquartered in the U.S., Mexico, the UK, India, or Japan, allocated considerable resources and their own time to breathing new life into long-standing values statements, engaging managers at many levels in the institutional task of communicating values. The point was not the words themselves but the process of nurturing a dialogue that would keep social purpose at the forefront of everyone’s mind and ensure that employees use the organizational values as a guide for business decisions.

As a Procter & Gamble executive, Robert McDonald had long believed that the company’s Purpose, Values, and Principles was a cornerstone of its culture, evoking strong emotions in employees and giving meaning to the company’s brands. Within a month of becoming CEO in 2010, he elevated the purpose—improving the lives of the world’s consumers—into a business strategy: improving more lives in more places more completely.

In P&G West Africa, for instance, every employee has a quantitatively measurable purpose-driven goal: How have I touched this year? So P&G West Africa’s Baby Care Group set up Pampers mobile clinics to reduce high rates of infant mortality and help babies thrive. A physician and two nurses travel the region in a van, teaching postnatal care, examining babies, and referring mothers to hospitals for follow-ups or immunization shots. They also register mothers for mVillage, a text-­message service (many of the poor in West Africa have cell phones) that offers health tips and the chance to ask questions of health care professionals. At the end of each mobile clinic visit, everyone gets two Pampers diapers. The emotional tugs for P&G employees are strong; they feel inspired by the fact that their product is at the center of a mission to save lives. They also feel proud that Pampers’ sales have soared and that West Africa is among P&G’s fastest-growing markets.

(Continua amanhã)
Fonte: HBR by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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