Corresponding Behaviour Also Does Impact
I used to think that this is what most people understood and agreed upon. The idea that core values underpin corporate reputation is a no-brainer. But I was sadly mistaken during a training session last year.
Having been in a semi retirement state since 2008, I have managed to stay active in a number of ways. I have conducted probably about four, 2 day training sessions on a yearly basis since then. These were on the topics of: Effective Public Relations; Public Speaking for Managers; Management and Leadership; and Business Writing Skills.
I have also blogged regularly on https://benmorais.wordpress.com and later on I was invited to do so by LinkedIn on its platform. I have accepted the invitation and have contributed a number of articles.
Contribution of Services on a Gratis Basis
I have also rendered assistance willingly to a few NGOs on areas such as membership growth and retention strategies. In other cases, I shared ideas on how to improve their public relations efforts. In these cases, I offered my services on a gratis basis. The organisations I have assisted in this manner are a professional body for social workers, a nurse’s association and a regional hospice in Selangor.
In addition, I do meet socially with small groups of five or so individuals, from time to time, over drinks and a meal. During these social gatherings we discuss current issues. It also provides us an opportunity to renew and strengthen friendships.
Variety of Interactive Training Programmes
Initially these were conducted as in–house training programmes for banks and microfinance companies in Cambodia. Training programmes were also conducted for companies and international agencies based in the capital. These interactive training programmes were well received and I did enjoy interacting with the participants.
The candidates who attended these programmes organised and promoted by the fledgling Cambodian Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) were locals for the most part.
A former colleague, a strategic thinker and now a good friend, Mr Sopheap Hin in Phnom Penh headed this body. There were also Thai nationals and Chinese nationals as well as a few Malaysians serving in a Malaysian MNC. Their command of the English language was good as most of them had overseas ( Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US for the most part) university education and they held fairly senior positions in the companies concerned.
Best Received Training Programme
The best-received training programme in both Cambodia and Malaysia was and still is the Management & Leadership one. This particular programme was meant for assistant managers, newly promoted managers and directors of companies. It was meant to give them an idea and an approach on how to make the much needed move from merely managing to leading with flair, competence and confidence.
One particular telecommunications company initially nominated forty five participants for the programme. After evaluating the two day programme and considering my report thereafter, the human resource director requested me to conduct a repeat programme for another forty five candidates!
Management and Training Programmes in Malaysia
In later years, this particular programme was conducted in Kuala Lumpur both as a public programme as well as an in-house programme.
In April 2019, I was entrusted to conduct such a programme for an IT company in Kuala Lumpur by a registered training provider i.e. WanFah Prosper PLT with an impressive track record. I have worked with this training outfit for a number of years. I have known a founding director of this company, Mr. Tan Chee Wan, a management accountant, former CIMA Malaysia divisional council member and now a good friend for many years. I undertook that task with enthusiasm.
Subsequently a few months later, I also undertook to conduct yet another Management and Leadership training session for a small group of candidates in Subang, Selangor.
The participants included a few from a well known global MNC as well as from a local manufacturing company. This training session was received with relish and much appreciation by the candidates who were keen to learn more.
Disagreement by a Training Programme Participant
I began the session for the IT company in the usual manner. As I progressed, I touched on one component of my sharing: the idea that the core values a company embraces underpins its corporate reputation. And while making that point, I also added that it is good and proper that an employee, especially at a middle level or senior position, appreciates and shows gratitude for the opportunity the company has given the individual to shine.
One fairly senior level candidate shot his arm up and then posed this blunt question? ‘ Why should I be grateful to the company? We bring with us technical expertise and experience. After all, it is an employee’s market now! .
His fellow colleagues seemed somewhat shocked by that bold and arrogant statement. Also present for the training session was the human resource manager.
I responded to that statement by pointing out that a company’s value proposition is clearly outlined in its Vision and Mission Statement. In some companies, this statement is proudly framed and hung on a wall at the entrance to the office. In it, the values a company holds dear are clearly stated in that all important Vision and Mission Statement. Moreover, I added what happens when the situation is reversed and it becomes an employer’s market! But this recalcitrant would not acknowledge that fact.
As I left the building and training venue that evening, I took the lift down. But just before the lift door closed two participants from that training session squeezed in. They then apologised to me for the remarks of that particular candidate and said that all the others agreed with me. They mentioned that they did not wish to engage with that candidate for reasons of their own!
CIMA Malaysia Division’s Guiding Philosophy
During my decade with CIMA Malaysia as its first divisional director and sometime in 1994, I introduced a Company Employee Manual. In the manual and at the beginning was the CIMA Malaysia Division’s Guiding Philosophy.
I had wanted my fellow colleagues to be fully aware of their duties and responsibilities. By having this guiding philosophy, I had hoped that each member of staff would know what was expected of him or her.
Here is the Guiding Philosophy
We TAKE responsibility for our work and the results that we obtain. When we take responsibility, blame is eliminated, and we are free to grow.
We DELIVER, on an on-going basis, only one acceptable and desired standard of service i.e. courteous, professional and timely.
We SEARCH continuously for ways and means to improve, however little, every aspect of service and the processes by which we create and deliver them. This is the essence of Kaizen.
We RECOGNISE that students, members, employers and the general public who walk in, telephone or write to us are not interruptions to our work. They are the very reasons for our existence.
We ACKNOWLEDGE that in the final analysis, it is results that matter, not activities per se.
Feedback from Portland Place
I also informed the Divisional Council of CIMA Malaysia about this guiding philosophy and the members were pleased with this move to have an Employee Manual and a Guiding Philosophy. I thereafter informed our headquarters then at Portland Place in London about this move and sent them a copy of both documents.
Helen Brand, then acting director, International Affairs at CIMA in a letter to me dated 14 December 1994 commented: ‘ For new members of staff, they can now be in little doubt of both the ethos and the practice of the Institute. Congratulations and I hope the effort bears the fruit you want. Helen Brand is the current chief executive of ACCA, the world’s largest accounting body.
Two days later, I received a similar letter from the Secretary ( Chief Executive ) of the Institute, Sir George Vallings, a retired vice admiral of the Royal Navy. This is what he had to say: ‘ Your Employee Manual is excellent and I have drawn the attention of our people here to your guiding principles. The Malaysia Divisional Office has consistently given very good service to the Institute. This reflects very well on the staff under your leadership‘.
Reputation Has to be Earned
Being familiar with the ethos, traditions and guiding philosophy of an organisation is well and good. However, equally important is the behaviour of its staff right from the chief executive to the senior management team, the managers, admin staff and even the janitor and the security guards.
Any lack of adherence to this philosophy will have a negative effect on the reputation of that company. So in that sense, these values and principles are the key to maintaining and I dare say even enhancing the reputation of the company.