Culture. Culture should be in the DNA of everything the organisation is, does, and stands for. Many companies fail to see it as a crucial ingredient or look at it as a series of processes to be followed to the word and unknowingly end up passing the judgement of 'to be hanged (on a wall as a poster) till death'. We often mistake culture with a process or a rigid framework of things that define a company. Whereas it is a philosophy sans processes that permeates the atmosphere; it is an infectious energy that drives your people towards organisational goals.
At InMobi, we value our people and lovingly call our culture YaWiO. Our objective with YaWiO is simple -- we made our mistakes and learnt from it. Now we want to create an open-source organisational approach, which any start-up can adopt, cutting on their learning curve and in the process, learn from each other. We want our open-source culture to change the process-based approach Indian companies and start-ups have mistakenly adopted so far.
Driving change through culture
People spend a significant portion of their lives at work. Naturally, offices become second homes to most employees. The larger parts of their lives are inextricably linked to the emotional quotient that one experiences at the workplace. The moment a CEO or founder understands this fundamental truth, the importance of culture is clear. To build a breeding ground for innovation, employees must feel at-home at the workplace.
You have to wake up and want to go to office. The 'wanting' comes only when the office is not thought of as a place you go to 'work'. The office is a place where you come to brainstorm, debate, discuss and learn. I believe the work environment is a lot of positive energy and should be fun. This philosophy is at the core of our organisational culture. It must encourage employees to keep changing and rethinking the status quo. Disruption must be the heart and soul of the organisation. Employees will then develop a passion to drive change in every aspect possible.
Imbibing culture across the organisation
An organisation's culture must encourage people to become more of who they are and not to turn them into someone they are not. Leaders must take care to live and plant a strong culture in the organisation rather than allowing an unconscious one develop on its own. One of the most important things to look at is to develop how things work internally in an organisation. Cubicles for isolating employees are one such internal aspect that needs to be examined. Employees must be free to interact with each other to encourage a sense of oneness in the organisation. Other internal working such as performance rating systems, ID cards, biometric attendance -- all indicate that you don't trust your employees. Instead, hire smart, allow employees to experiment and take risks. Organisations will benefit greatly by employing such human resource policies.
Culture should never be enforced. It must be nurtured by the organisation. We nurture our philosophy and celebrate it as well. Culture is defined by how employees respond to various situations encountered by them. Our employees respond with imagination, oneness and action, the three pillars of YaWiO. It is not a law. It is something we own, live and drive each day. For us, culture is like the wind in our face. We can't see it, but we can feel its effect.
Naveen Tewari is the founder and CEO of InMobi, a global mobile advertising and technology platform