Company Culture When Expanding
Apr 3, 2018
We have expanded massively over the last few years, and we have gone from only developing in Pratamnak Hill to now have projects across South East Asia. The expansion has been just as big internally: all of a sudden we have several layers of management and staff, separated into departments and business units.
The company culture has always been very important to me in my work, and I have been lucky to find an amazing managing directior in Thailand, Khun Namfon, who since the beginning helped me bring this into every part of our companies - as well as bringing me the knowledge and understanding of the local culture that I needed when I was still new to Asia. We arranged yearly staff parties, we had selfie competitions, and we gave out prices to our orange team in the streets at lunch time when they had orange accessories. It was a fantastic time!
When we now have reached the level we are at now, I have had to make several choices with regards to how I interact with the group. I have become more careful to voice my opinion when it comes to details because I understand that it has bigger consequences to the organization than what I anticipate, and it might also destabilize the work of one of our directors or managers if delivered in the wrong way or to the wrong people. You cannot give your department leaders half your trust. You need to give them the trust and freedom to take the action that they, based on the every day engagement with their unit, mean is right. This also means that my role has to change. I have had to become less available. I still today have people and staff coming to my office to get an answer, rather than going to the leader of that particular team. Often they also come to me if they do not get the answer they want from our directors and managers. I have also realized that to be able to make big choices right I need to manage my time correctly and focus on what is most beneficial to the overall organization. I can therefore not get in involved in selection of curtains for new units (our designer is much better at that than me!) or negotiations between two housekeeping employees (our HR department is much more qualified to make the right decisions here!). I have, however, made sure to make it a point where I want to be involved and where I believe my contribution is key.
In a fast expanding organization, I think that leaders have to be very vary of their own position and evaluate their role on a daily basis to ensure that new leaders are able to come in and that tasks can be delegated in a way that the pace can be kept up. In the same time, it is very important to me not to loose the company culture that Khun Namfon and I worked to develop during our start-up years based on our ideas of how we wanted our organization to be. This year, we therefore launch the Orange Society Initiative that focuses on social engagements, activities, responsibilities, stand-points and considerations both internally in the organization and externally to our clients, local communities and the global social environment that we all are a part of. We also announce Orange Ambassadors in all business units to further promote this work. I look forward to see this work be carried out!