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The Stories and Styles that Shape Organisational Culture

Created by Nguyen Tan Phat, SGS, Client Management

Meeting at his favourite location as always, I have known him for the long time.

I am working in a combined environment but full of potential, I think

With the long – term experience in journalism, he deserves the job as Senior Editor of Esquire. Being in the Sunflower’s family, he understands the organisational culture that brings up the topic of this interview. Client Management

Since the establishment in Vietnam on March 2013, Esquire is the leading magazine in men’s lifestyle. More importantly, Sunflower has been successfully merged Esquire into their organisation. It is interesting to investigate into this matter with the support of my friend, Mr. Thien Phuc. Working under Mr. Nhan Nguyen, Editor in Chief of Esquire, and Ms. Huong, founder of Sunflower, he is trained in order to identify the trend to create the content that is going to attract readers. Even his team works independently from Ms. Huong, however, she still involves in the decision making of the content. 

With more than 20 years experiences in journalism and specialised in literature, Ms. Huong is not only the leader but also a divine mentor in my daily job. She can spot the problem of the article and rationale why it doesn’t fit with the topic or viewers.

1493454_466285826823966_2138356051_oThis factor is one of elements that shape the organisational culture, the story behind the founder of the organisation. Mr. Phuc believes that it is essential because Ms. Huong has set the value of the company and his job, as the new comer, has to try his best in order to maintain the standard. Additionally, Sunflower has become a prestigious company for any journalist looking for the next level in their career, Mr. Phuc is not exceptional. Unlike other magazine brand, Esquire has only one headquarter in USA. Mr. Phuc always tries to perform well in his daily task so he can have an opportunity to be trained in the USA like his boss.

It is a chance for advancement my current knowledge

Advancement and Growth is the highest level of Organisational Pyramid to motivate the staff adapting to the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has set this target since he came to Sunflower. Beside from internal motivation, the management style of supervisor also contributes to the drive of employees to work with their full capabilities. Instead of dividing into 4 corporate cultures like Charles Handy, Sunflower’s management style is the combination of those four, while Esquire’s team works independently and most of their staff is self – encouraged to meet the deadline. However, sometimes Ms. Huong can interrupt the topic or article before publishing it. We can see the corporate culture can be a little bit of everything from the Power Culture to Role Culture. 

bia Esquire

At the end of the day, it is all about the sales of Esquire.

It is all depend on the content of the article

During the interview, I was wondering how Sunflower could adjust the content to fit with the local but still maintain the Original Personality of the brand. Mr. Phuc explained that they have to receive an approval from International Editor of Esquire in the USA before publishing. At the end of the day, Esquire Vietnam is still in control of Esquire USA in term of the issue’s articles and topics. Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.15.29 PM

At the end of my interview, I have realised sometimes theory doesn’t work the way it is, and I have interpret my understanding on this following picture. Additionally, the stories of symbolic frame is the most important factor to form the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has demonstrated how he fit himself in Sunflower and provide me an insight of theory in practice.

Word Count: 605

Additional Trivia: Don’t You Know?

  • Esquire US controls the content of any other international version excepts Esquire UK.
  • Esquire doesn’t have their headquarter in Asia, however, if they want to look for a standard, Esquire Korea will be the one.

Reference List

Casul, M 2014, ‘Organisational Culture’, Lecture in COMM2384 Client Management, 27th March, RMIT University, Vietnam.

 

Sandford J. 2013, ‘How management style affects motivation when employees work from home’, Inside Business, 23rd December, viewed 3rd March, http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/how-management-style-affects-motivation-when-employees-work-from-home-7048/.

 

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The ingredient cannot be missed in client retention and teamwork

Interviewed by Luong Tran Anh Phuong, s3426518, Group 1, RMIT SGS Campus.

Met Mr. Ho Hai Dang under hot temperature of summer afternoon at his house, he was so kind to share interesting experiences in working as a leader in balancing the relationship with clients and his team.

Mr. Ho Hai Dang has been working at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation since 2005 and now he is a General Manager of Agriculture Insurance Division. Bao Minh Insurance Corporation was established in 1994, that was a 100% state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Finance. In 2004, it turned into joint-stock insurance enterprise and now it ranks the third place in non-life insurance in Vietnam. It aims to provide non-life insurances and consultancy as well as carry out financial investment in 20 different types of group of insurance commercial product such as maritime, aviation, casualty, automobile, agriculture and business activities in Vietnam.

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

Figure 1: Mr. Ho Hai Dang at work. (Photo taken by his colleague)

The power of teammates in client retention

According to Mr. Dang, there are two main factors to acquiring new clients. Firstly, clients come to an agency because of its brand and reputation. Another factor is the ability to acquire new clients from particular team. Furthermore, he also pointed out the role of team members in building and maintaining relationship with clients.

“Normally, people think that the role and relationships of leaders in building relationship with clients is very important. But in my opinion, team members and employees are the one that play a key role to the success of each projects as well as building relationship with clients.” Dang said.

He explained that, when two leaders, managers or CEO have a meeting to discuss about the project that they are going to do, they are apt to focus on the policy, strategy, and signing contracts. But how they collaborate, how the project work out and the success of the collaboration that depends on implement of the staffs and employees. To elaborate, in order to bring the best result for the project, staffs and team members have to work hard in research information about clients and their competitors, understand client’s SWOT and markets.

In business, it is essential to maintain relationship with clients. As Solomon (2008) stated that “Great Work Wins Business; a Great Relationship Keeps It”.

“It is better if you show clients see how you care for them. For example, making a call to ask clients about their jobs and health, or ask them going to quan nhau. Be proactive and don’t let your client do this before you.” Mr. Dang said.

He also mentioned about the CRM (Client relationship management) in insurance industry and take CRM at Bao Minh Insurance Corporation as an example. He said that CRM in life insurance work better than non-life insurance. Moreover, in Bao Minh, each department would take responsible for its customers and clients. As a result, it cannot provide the best care services for customers. He hopes that Bao Minh Insurance Corporation will establish a CRM department that specializes in customer caring service for all departments’ clients.

 

Effective teamwork

Mr. Dang claimed that, in order to have best result in work, a leader should consider the division of work that make sure all his team are happy with the job offer.

“A good leader means he knows and understands clearly about his team member,” Dang said.

“In my opinion, a leader should base on team members‘ personalities and abilities to divide suitable tasks for them. Besides that, a leader must have ability to evaluate fairly team members’ contributions and show them what they do well and not well. Help them to face the difficulties and encourage learning from mistakes.”

In addition, he divides the tasks in public with the purpose of building team spirit in his members, give them chances to support and help colleagues and more importantly they enhance knowledge as well as gain experiences from each others.

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang (Photo taken by me)

Figure 2: Proof of life: Me and Mr. Ho Hai Dang
(Photo taken by me)

 Word count: 623

Reference:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Baominh, 2012, ‘About Us’, Baominh, viewed on 29 April 2014, <http://www.baominh.com.vn/en-us/category-637-about-us.aspx>.

 

The coin of success: Leadership & organizational culture

Interviewed by Hang Ngoc Tran-s3426291, group 2, RMIT SGS Campus

You may have experienced in feeling like an outsider of unfamiliar culture. The awkward feeling appears as you have just landed in another planet. It is difficult if the employees cannot feel like the insiders of an organization. In fact, each organization shapes its own culture. Organizational culture is “shared belief, values, customs held by the organization’s members” (Prentice Hall 2007). The leader will be the one who brings the culture to the members of the organization. Interestingly, leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin (Schein 2004, p.1).

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

“Leadership is the art. It requires a strong passion of heading to achieve the best success together with the team”, Ms. Pham Kim Phung says. Ms. Phung is a corporate communication and public relations manager for more than 7 years at New Markets Pte Ltd. New Market is 100% foreign-owned company since 1994. It invests in distributorship of heavy industrial equipment and marine engine in Vietnam. Their major clients are state-owned enterprises and private companies. As Ms. Phung points out that being a good leader and getting your team mates involved in the organization’s culture are never easy tasks. “What you have learnt from theories are just the basic steps, you have to prepare yourself for larger waves of reality”, Ms. Phung says.

Climbing the organizational pyramid 

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

At New Market, employees receive bonus no less than their three-month salary. For long-term employees, they will receive suitable bonus for their long-term contribution. For working hours and condition, “we follow the government’s labor laws, our working hours is from 8am to 5pm”, she says. At the “involvement” stage, getting employees or teammates involved in the project or organization is also important. “You have to make they feel the organization is their home, they are the pieces of the project”, Ms. Phung says. Solomon (2008) also believes that “we are smarter together than we are alone”. Reaching the top of the pyramid is one of the difficult tasks to complete. At leader position, Ms. Phung believes that a good leader is also the one that gives the employees chances to grow with their skills. “A great leader will produce more good leaders who are better than him or her”, she says.

Four requirements of leadership

Ms. Phung explains that these requirements are essential for effective teamwork. Firstly, “we should understand and share targets to the team and make sure all team members will play each assignment, which is related tightly to the others”, Ms.Phung says. Kotter (1990, p.7) suggests that the idea of getting people going in the same direction is “not organize people but align them”. If they receive suitable task, they will push the speed of the project. Secondly, when the project is on its way, leader should track all team members’ results on a basic schedule and discussing very often methods of achieving targets. Thirdly, rewarding is very important to maintain the motivation of the whole team. Her mindset is similar with Kotter (1990, pp.9-11). The teammates will feel their efforts are recognized. This is one of essential stages in organizational pyramid. This will also help increase the quality of the work. However, remember to reward on suitable time for every good result. We have to recognize the team members’ efforts at the right time. Last but not least, evaluating every target including evaluation of method, timeline, investment on human resources that were achieved. We should keep all team members updating the latest success of the whole team.

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

To achieve the targets, team members are the crucial pieces and the leader is the one knows which pieces will fit with each part of the project. Organizational culture and leadership support each other and stick together like the two sides of the same coin. We have to hold this coin tightly like holding our success.

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me  & Ms. Phung

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me & Ms. Phung (Photo taken by the author)

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Word count: 668 words

References: 

Kotter, JP 1990, ‘What leaders really do?’, Havard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Prentice Hall 2007, ‘Organizational culture’, course notes for COMM2384 Client management, RMIT University, Vietnam.

Schein, EH 2004, ‘Organizational culture and leadership’, 3rd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, p.1.

Solomon, R 2008, ‘We are smarter together than we are alone’, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising & marketing professional should know, Kaplan, New York, pp.100-101.

Images references:

Global Recognition Inc. 2012, ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the organizational pyramid’, image, Global Recognition Inc., viewed 27 April 2014, <http://globalrecognition.award-search.com/pl/why-use-recognition/Basics-to-Motivating-People>.

Kanketa Systems n.d, ‘Business growth for continued success’, image, Kanketa Systems, viewed 3 May 2014, <http://www.kanketasystems.com/business-growth/>.

The Mojo company 2012, ‘Flipping the coin’, image, the Mojo company, 9 May, viewed 26 April 2014, <http://themojocompany.com/2012/05/culture_and_marketing/>.

 

Female leadership – Challenges and Opportunities

Written by Nguyen Minh Dang – s3410147

Strong leadership skills are something that both men and women want to achieve. However, Merrill-Sands (2008) claims that most women are skipping their power and leadership at the workplace for full-time motherhood as they prefer “sticking with the kids” rather than dealing with papers.

To explore the accuracy of the statement as well as to explore a different angle – female leadership, I decided to have a small talk with Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuong, the owner of Eurovie – a 5-year-old private spa and facial treatment centre. Throughout the conversation, I asked her about the challenges that a female leader usually encounter with and how to solve these problems.

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Figure 1. My interview with Ms Phuong. Photo by author (2013)

Starting the dialogue, Ms. Phuong said that she was quite lucky to born in a different period of time from her mother, who had a very limited job opportunities. Though, women are still facing a number of more difficult decisions between professional success and personal life at the moment.

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Figure 2. Reproduced from: Expatchild (2013)

How to motivate the women staff?

Since Ms. Phuong’s business is about taking care of the skin, the hair and the beauty of people, most of the staff are girls, too. She told me there is one challenge that she found the most difficult: How to motivate the women staff? She noticed that ladies are usually underestimate their own abilities. When she asks a male staff why is he doing so great? He will reply that because of his personal skills. However, with the same question, the female staff will attribute to external factors regarding her teammates, her luck or someone’s help.

Why this point is so important? Because nobody can get the job promotions if they do not think they deserve the success or they even do not understand their own success, Ms. Phuong explains. As a result, “Keep your faith and believe in yourself. Have you own success” is something that Ms. Phuong keep talking about.

How to choose between workload and family?

On the other hand, as a women, Ms. Phuong said that it is challenging for a female leader to balance between the workload and the personal family. Just imagine you have got married and you had a baby, what will you do if the little boy hugging your leg and begging you stay at home? Usually in a Vietnamese family, if both of the father and the mother has a full-time job, the mother has to work double burdens compared to the father, in both childcare and housework, she adds.

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Figure 3. Reproduced from: Momlogic (2013)

The situation is completely different when Ms. Phuong was single. At that time, everyone was busy and so did she. Then suddenly she thought about getting married and having a baby, which made her lean back. She lost her own motivation and did not want to expand her business anymore. Luckily, she finally realized that she should not leave the job before making any real decision.

“I must keep my hands stably on the steering wheel until the day that I really have to leave to take a break for my pregnancy, then I made the final choice”. She advises that young females should not make any decision too far in advance, especially with the one that they are not even be aware of they are making them.

The conversation demonstrates the point of Krotz (2010) that the style of leadership of male and female can be both effective, while ‘female’ regularly has their own advantages. For instance, women leaders are more likely to build than to win, they are also likely to connect people and ask other’s opinions. Finally, female leaders tend to be better than male at encouraging their staff.

At the end of the dialogue, I believe that female leaders will continue to effectively manage the challenges created by having children and developing businesses at the same time.

Word count: 652

References:

Expatchild 2013, ‘Busy woman with children housewife’, image, Expatchild, 10 June, viewed 8 January 2014,

< http://expatchild.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Busy-woman-with-children-housewife.jpg>.

Krotz, J 2010, “Women Make Better Corporate Leaders”, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. RMIT International University Vietnam, viewed 10 January 2014,

<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&prodId=OVRC&userGroupName=vnrmit&tabID=T010&docId=EJ3010151276&type=retrieve&contentSet=GSRC&version=1.0>.

Merrill-Sands, D 2008, “Women Are Not Opting Out of the Workplace to Be Stay-at-Home Moms”, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. RMIT International University Vietnam, viewed 10 January 2014,

<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&prodId=OVRC&userGroupName=vnrmit&tabID=T010&docId=EJ3010175253&type=retrieve&contentSet=GSRC&version=1.0>.

Momlogic 2013, ‘Are you addicted to babies, image, Momlogic, 10 July, viewed 8 January 2014,

< http://www.momlogic.com/cdn/images/are_you_addicted_to_babies_pm-thumb-270×270.jpg>.

Changes in Organizational Culture: When leadership takes firm hold of its rudder.

 Article by Nguyen Huu Thuy Vi – s3394140

“If organization was a ship, the leader would be a captain. Wind can change its direction and storm can come, no ship will follow one way forever. The captain has to beware of this fact, predict what will happen and steer the ship to the way that won’t make it sink”, said Mr. Vo Duy Nghia – CEO and Founder of Mekong Communications Corporation.

nghia-large

Figure 1. Mr. Vo Duy Nghia – CEO & Founder of Mekong Communicatons Corp. (Reproduced from Anh 2013)

I met Mr. Nghia in a busy morning as usual of the whole company. Graduated from the University of Finance and Marketing HCMC, he became the talented founder and CEO of a prestigious digital marketing agency at a very young age. In contrast to the bustling atmosphere outside, the silence of meeting room made the CEO sitting in front of me look even more earnest. However, once he started talking, I could see all the sincerity, severity, but also humor and friendliness inside this man – the captain of a whole big ship.

Established in 2008 when the traditional marketing tools still extremely kept the upper hand over the Vietnamese market, Mekong Communications has become one of the very first pioneers in developing the digital marketing industry on both local and regional scales. This success of the firm today was significantly contributed by the leadership practice on building and maintaining an integrated organizational culture, which mainly conducted by Mr. Nghia.

 So, what is Organizational Culture?

According to Desson and Clouthier (2010), Organizational culture is defined as the set of values, mindsets and comportment of every employee in an organization that specifies how it looks in stakeholders’ eyes and significantly affects its working environment, images and partnerships with these stakeholders. Leadership, on the other hand, is the deliberate impacts that an individual has on other people in the same organization, which can direct and construct the activities in that organization (Yukl, 2012). In this case, forming and adopting the organizational culture are the activities mentioned above. However, when it comes to culture changes, the policies or communication materials can be easy, yet to change the inner perception of each individual could be a difficult problem (Haneberg 2009).

Talking about the form and shape of his company culture, Nghia believes that different changes in the social trends, industry and even clients’ needs make the culture alterable and simultaneously keep the company survive in such competitive marketplace.

“Mekong Communications can be a great agency, a trusted partner and a good place to work for a particular time, not forever”, he said, “It’s obvious that the digital marketing industry changes every time with thousands of new technologies, ideas and client demands. In an environment like that, I don’t want my firm to be just good; I want it to be better and better.”

And that is why culture has to change every time to match with external and internal needs, he asserts. Having a profound insight of this alterable communication industry, Nghia always tries to manage the changes in organizational culture for avoiding stress and crisis. Here are some points shared by him, which indicate what leaders have to focus on when managing the cultural changes inside organization.

Be visionary!

download

Figure 2. Reproduced from Lofquist (2012)

Nghia claims that as understanding profoundly what are the communication industry’s threats and opportunities, the leader has to predict any changes that may take places in this external environment and how they affect the internal one. In other words, leaders are ones who always keep their eyes opened for current context, long-term future and be ready to change. Additionally, feedback is one of the most significant factors that leaders must listen to during this perception stage to identify what changes of internal values and comportments will be appropriate and effective (Malby, 2006).

Always have a plan B!

Nobody can accurately forecast 100% of what will happen, leader is not an exception. Therefore, Mr. Nghia always thinks of some plans for the changes in company culture to avoid the risks happening if one plan does not work.

It’s not my business, it’s OUR!

To alternate the company culture, Nghia believes that not only the managers change, but every single employee has to change. That is why he had set up a unique culture of continuous learning right from the beginning. With the values of being “Dynamic, Determined and Inquiring”, Nghia had built a strong foundation on his employees’ attitude: Always ready to adopt new things. If they can constantly learn things in the world and be adaptive with new ones, they are willing to change themselves (Vries et al. 2009)

Practice makes perfect

Figure 3. Reproduced from Anh (2013)

Figure 3. Mr. Nghia & his employees at Ad-tech event in Singapore (Reproduced from Anh 2013)

“Don’t just tell your employees what to change, show them how!” said Nghia. He reveals that the company had opened many training workshops and taken the employees to the annual Ad-tech event in Singapore. Nghia believes that practical experience through these activities will shows them clearly why the company culture has to be changed and how each of them can change it. Moreover, this way also creates a corporate culture, where every employee can develop their creative ability and contribute their ideas for better changes.

In a nutshell, through some sharing experience of Mr. Nghia, I believe we can understand that the role leadership plays on the constantly alterable culture inside an organization is extremely important. However, the leader’s role is not simply setting up the changes in culture and forcing anyone to follow, but to influence, motivate and convince every employee to change. That’s why the captain’s rudder has to be held tight and steered resiliently.

Figure 4. Me & Mr. Nghia (Photo taken by Author)

Figure 4. Me & Mr. Nghia (Photo taken by Author)

Word count: 900

Reference list

Anh, H. 2013, ‘Ra biển lớn, phải nhìn xa và thật vững tay chèo’, image, Doanh Nhan Saigon Online, 2 July, viewed 9 January 2014, <http://www.doanhnhansaigon.vn/online/doanh-nhan/khoi-nghiep/2013/07/1075060/ra-bien-lon-phai-nhin-xa-va-that-vung-tay-cheo/>

Desson, K & Clouthier J. 2010, Organizational Culture – Why Does It Matter?, the Symposium on International Safeguards International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

Haneberg, L. 2009, ‘How Leaders Can Optimize Organizational Culture’, MPI Consulting, April, viewed 8 January 2014, MPI Consulting Database.

Lofquist, L. 2012, ‘Visionary Leadership – Part I’, Image, Private Blog, viewed 9 January 2014 <http://ifcamedia.org/fireinmybones/?p=206>

Malby, B. 2006, ‘How Does Leadership Make Difference to Organizational Culture and Effectiveness? An overview for the public sector’, Northern Leadership Academy, University of Liverpool, Chatham Street, Liverpool.

Vries, M., Ramo, L. & Korotov K. 2009, ‘Organizational Culture, Leadership, Change and Stress’, INSEAD Working Paper Series, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Yukl, G. 2012, Leadership in Organizations, 8th edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

A FORMULA FOR CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP

In the world of business, any leader have to encounter with change at some point regardless the actively want or not. However, resistance to change is the major problem to organizational change, the reasons are; Belief that change is unessential and not feasible, lack of trust, fear of personal failure or economic threat and so on. Thus, understanding the resistance and use appropriate ways to minimize it is a difficult task that requires effective leaders to implement.Leading change in organization culture is a key and crucial leadership task to help a leader revitalize and instill a new culture in organization. More specific, effective leaders are people who understand the different types of organizational changes, particularly the feature of efficient vision, the improvement in appealing innovation and the sense of motivation (Yukl,2006).

I met miss Lam Nguyen Quynh Anh in my visit Lam Boutique as a shopper. She completely impressed me with her grateful smile and the friendliness. Lam is now working in Lam boutique retailer as the position of a general manager. I could not hold my curiosity about how a tiny, young lady can handle such a tough role in a competitive environment of a fashion industry. “It is about the ability to be influenced in organization culture, prepare yourself the ability to cope with change, that what a leader really do” said Lam.

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Figure 1 Quynh Anh Lam in Lam dress, reproduced from Lam’s homepage 2013

Developing a Vision

To Lam, the sense of vision in leadership is an inevitable aspect to become a potential leader. “Wide vision helps me clarify the overview destination of the organization and support the ability to simplify the bunch of decisions I have to make” She said. In fact, the competency of direction-setting  of leadership creates visions that help defining  a business, technology or corporate culture in achieving the company goal (Kotter, 2001).Creating vision firstly to inspire employees, then helps the leader motivate employees to take part in the right direction (Kotter,2001).  If Lam create the company vision that is simple and can be clearly understood, she can motive and align people to the core values of what company is doing : staff development, decision-making or recruitment.”It is important for a leader to create a vision that understandable, realistic and achievable to appeal the action of a wide collection of individuals within company” said Lam

Why Motivation is Important?

It is vital to advocate business leaders applying the sense of motivation into practice. The success of a leader depends on retaining cheerful workplaces.  Changing in organization culture requires the ability to ignite the motivation that requires a leader to read and understand people (Grout and Fisher,2011). “Actually in work we spend most of our time making people feel good about the job they are doing, so they don’t go around with the voice inside criticizing their ability.by doing that we consciously build motivation within employees” Said Lam.“To build a change in a consistent company first is to build a comfortable ambience that helps release stress in workplace” Lam shared her experience. Later in internal relationship, the sense of motivation is helpful in solving problems caused by human’s mistake. Understanding employee helps the leader goes beyond the narrow corners to clarify and solve problems thoroughly (Grout and Fisher,2011)

Implementing Innovation

Lam-Boutique

Figure 2 :Model in Lam pyjama shirt, reproduced from ELLE Vietnam, 2013

Leaders are also the people who encourage themselves and employees to apply creative ideas for improving work processes. One way to stimulate the creative idea is to set innovation objectives for individual or teams (Yukl,2006). “I often advocate employees’ activities to help my staff find the time to pursue their ideas for new or improved product or process”. Besides, arranging a special meeting monthly to encourage staffs to discuss new ideas or inviting experts to share their experience about relevant practices or improved ideas are also needed. “There was a time I invited outside consultants to inspire employees regarding creativity in fashion industry. Later on many ideas about changes in company was created, how effective it is” Lam said in excitement.

53067a14acade5cd303918f61302d013

Figure 3 Reproduced from Pinterest,2013

Staffs who create new idea to promote products or suggest new way to enhance existing service that make a huge change within company deserve appreciation and reward (Yukl,2006). “In company, all employee has right to share their opinion about the product or service and of course they will be obtained recognition a reasonable reward” said Lam .We are working in such a competitive environment, without the creativity in product or service, a firm will be broken. Lam understands that fact and she evoke the practice creativity among employees by rewarding those who do contribute.

kayandquynhanh

Figure 4: Ms Lam Nguyen Quynh Anh and me in Lam Boutique office- Taken by Vuong Han Lam (2013)

“The difficulty is not developing new ideas, but escaping the old ones” (John Maynard Keynes, cited in Grout and Fisher,2011) . To Lam, wide vision, the ability to understand people and the sense of creativity are special formulas that make it easier to implement change in organization. Change is one of the most sophisticated things for a leader to bring about in an organization but it has recognizable progresses to implement successfully if leader knows the way to break the resistance to change of people.In brief, leading to change should never be missed in everyday life of the business.

word counts: 800

Gerhart,B 1996  The impact of human resource management on organizational performance: progress and prospect The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 779-801,viewed 25 December 2013

http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/stable/pdfplus/256712.pdf?acceptTC=true

John, K 2001 What leader really do Vol. 79 Issue 11, p85-96 .viewed 25 December 2013 .

Yukl G,2006 Leadership in Organizations, 6th edn, Pearson, New Jersey

Grout J, Fisher L, 2011 What you need to know about leadership Capstone, United Kingdom

Carnie, L 2013, ‘Lecture 7: Organizational Culture’, PowerPoint slides for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Saigon South, viewed 9 January 2014, Blackboard@RMIT

Image:

Lam, NQA 2013, Facebook, viewed 5 January 2014

<https://www.facebook.com/lamnguyenquynhanh?ref=ts&fref=ts>

ELLE 2013 Homepage ELLE Vietnam, viewed 7 January 2014

<http://www.elle.vn/elle-network/brand/lam-boutique/>

Making ‘Sustainability’ as an Extra Value for Your Clients

Writen by Le Thi Han – s3393951

Managing the client-agency relationship is very challenging when it comes to the issue of mutual understanding. Last week, I came to Nielsen research agency to get the professional’s solution to strengthen the mutual understanding and I was especially surprised by the way Nielsen created extra value for its clients.

From a friend’s recommendation, I was introduced to Ms. DinhThi Kim Huyen, who is a five-year senior executive at Nielsen research agency. Being an expert in measurement and information, Nielsen empowers its clients by providing deep consumers and market insight for a more profitable strategy. The company also has very good reputation with long history of operation and the staff’s skills. As one of the leaders research agency, both local and global clients, whether they are in media, consumer packaged goods, telecom or advertising from small to large scale, usually come to Nielsen for its services (Nielsen, 2013).

Ms.Huyen is in charge of not only leading the internal teams but also meeting and dealing with the clients. In other words, she decides how long and strong the relationship between Nielsen and its client can last. Therefore, I came straight to the company and asked for her experience in client management.

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Figure 1: ‘Proof of life photo – Taken by Ms Huyen subordinate’

Mutual understanding is a must

According to IPENZ (2005), the success of human relationship is built by spending times and effort to understand each other business and circumstances. Although it takes a long time to proceed, mutual understanding between client and agency not only can build stronger relationship but also can produce productive and effective outcomes.

Educating your client and creating added value for them

However, it is not always that the clients understand what Nielsen does but they also have conflicts sometimes. For Nielsen, the biggest problem is the timeline as clients often want the proposer earlier than the expected deadline. “We understand that they are curious with the findings and want to set up the strategy as soon as possible but quality, price and time cannot stand equally for a successful project”, MsHuyen illustrated. With that misunderstanding, it not only can ruin the projects but also can harm the agency-client relationship.   As a result, there is a need for self-training to get mutual understanding between clients and agency.

Ms. Huyen shared with me her strategy in dealing with this problem. “First of all, we’re not gonna blame clients or complaint anything but accept the decision”, she said. “Secondly, we do tell them that the price-time-quality triangle cannot be fulfilled and try to give them as much as possible at that time”, she added. Thus, the client can understand how complicated the job is and tend to take it easier on the agency.

However, it still somehow can dissatisfy the client so Ms. Huyengave me a very clever tip to work on it. “We also ask them for quick feedback and develop a full and more sustainable proposal with extra research about related field on the first expected deadline”, she said.  It shows that the agency is responsible with the project but they also make sustainability as added value for the client. Moreover, both parties are required to work together so it can enhance their mutual understanding and relationship.

It is clear that client management is not only about satisfying the client but also about understanding them. The mutual understand between agency and client can be developed through training and collaboration of both sides. Moreover, creating added value for clients is also necessary to go beyond their expectation and win their loyalty in the relationship.

Word count: 597

References

Nielsen, 2013, ‘About Us’, viewed 24 December 2013, http://www.nielsen.com/intl/vn/about-us.html .

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Incorporated (IPENZ), 2005, ‘Developing and Maintaining Client Relationship”, Practice No.6, http://www.ipenz.org.nz/ipenz/forms/pdfs/PN06_Maintaining_Client_Relationships.pdf.

TIPS ON WINNING HARMONY BETWEEN CREATIVE AND ACCOUNT TEAM IN AN AGENCY

“Better be safe than sorry” – That’s the key lesson that Ulyana Lutseva advised students on how to create harmony between creative team and account team.

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Why is the harmony between creative and account team important to the success of a company? Since the opening in Vietnam, Leo Burnett Vietnam has achieved many successes in the creative industry. It’s created many advertisements that not only won big prizes such as “Agency of the Year” from Campaign Asia but also satisfied the needs of big clients leading to stable client retention from Protect & Gamble, Tiger and Pfizer. All of these results are thanks to the harmonious collaboration between creative and account team.

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A picture of Ms.Ulyana and me – taken by Vesper Diep Truong 

Ulyana Lutseva – the Account Director of Leo Burnett Vietnam, and I had an interesting discussion about how Leo Burnett Vietnam has created the harmony between creative and account team. She said that working with creative people is not like what students imagined in the college because when you are in college, students are just mainly taught about how to get conflicts solved but courses seem to forget to teach you how to not let conflicts happen. An account person should put priority on knowing how to build strong relationship with creative team rather than studying how to solve conflicts and compromised with creative team.

Treat creative team like they’re your friends, not your colleagues.

One of the creative team job’s requirements is generating ideas, which is strongly affected by their emotion. Instead of keeping reminding them about deadline as a colleague, an account person should care the mood of creative team in order to push their working ability. For example, instead of just doing some formal actions like saying hello like colleagues, why don’t account person bring to creative people their favorite drinks to their table in the morning, asking them to join in a hang out. Always remember: “Be the one that you want to be friend with”. By becoming friends of creative people, they’ll more likely to understand the work of account team and avoid unnecessary anger with account team as well.

Always learn as if you were to live forever.

An account person must have a strong knowledge regarding to account stuff such as creating creative brief and dealing with clients. An account person must have a clear overview of what they have to do to help creative team generating ideas. For instance, account person must know all clients’ insights and requirements before creating and giving the creative brief to creative team. Then, these creative brief would help creative team much easier to generate ideas.

And if it is possible, an account person should take a basic courses on Photoshop and try to get basic knowledge about the principles of compositions; picture layouts so that account person would be able to know which feedbacks that clients give is possible for creative team to execute. This would help to avoid those impossible ideas from clients that would make creative team underestimating the role of account team.

Working effectively with clients.

This is one of most important factors affecting to the relationship between creative and account team. If account team just receives feedbacks from clients without challenging, it would be really difficult for creative team to take over these feedbacks.  It means that whenever account team receives feedbacks from clients, they should ask clients why they give these feedbacks. If the clients are wrong, persuade them to believe this is the best layout for them. If the clients are right, at least account team can give constructive feedbacks for creative team to improve the previous idea. Thanks to this, the creative would appreciate the role of account team because you actually help them on their jobs.

Thanks to the interview, I learn that it’s true that by walking in creative team’s shoes, it would help the flow of work between creative and account team much more harmonious rather than just doing the role of an account team.

Interviewed and Written by Do  Quang Hai (s3410126)

Human’ Values & Committment

“I was enlightened through precious experiences of the seniors, the light of aspiration, rising up and conquering”

 

In 7 years, Mr. Nguyen Cao Tri, the CEO of Ben Thanh Land – a real estate company has achieved considerable achievements for not only guiding this company but also developing and promoting successfully his biggest project named Riverside Palace. From the company started with only 7 people, Mr. Tri and his colleagues has incessantly determined and contributed to the company. As the company has developed rapidly and transferred to the bigger cooperation, Mr. Tri understands that his team is required to establish a new way to collaborate and interact to each other. The CEO cannot manage everything if the whole cooperation does not think together and think in the same way. His success is to build an organization culture that prioritizes the commitment of employees and cherishing the human’s values. With only 30-minute conversation with Mr. Tri, I was totally convinced by his fervent argument and vision. Here are some precious lessons that I want to share.

Attitude is the most important value.

“There are three factors to value an employee which are knowledge, skills and attitude”, said Mr. Tri. In an interview, a company normally will examine how excellent candidates could be, what they had achieved when they were at universities. However, attitude is the most essential value indeed.  Attitudes influence behavior and can have a huge impact on how much people are committed to and engaged in their jobs (Pearson Canada, 2013). A smart organization will be able to understand the employees’ attitude towards the company and how they put their hearts to the business. Skills can be trained but the attitude!

“Human’s value is the greatest value!”

This message sounds theoretical but that is what Mr. Tri wants to communicate. Human performs the accumulation of experiences throughout time. Human also represents for the knowledge gathering while working in the company. Human is the organization “property”. Human is the trademark. A good employee will make his customers figure out and remember the values that he brings to them. In the perspective of Ben Thanh Land, the company asserts the human is the most valuable element. Nonetheless, Ben Thanh Land does not promote for any specific individuals. While contributing to an organization, there is a requirement of co-ordination, support and team spirit between people. Every person can do his best at one thing and own any particular weakness. To build a cohesive team, the organization needs to distinguish people who will fit best with the company’s values and cultures (Mind Tools, 2013). In addition, the biggest training from the organization providing to the employees is not through any courses but from their daily work. People learn from the specific tasks, from the achievement and from the failures.

CEO’s characteristics and organization culture

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Figure 1: Reproduced from maximizesocialmedia, 2012.

To communicate the organization’s values to the employees, there are several ways a leadership could do. In prior to Ben Thanh Land Company, Mr. Tri decides to be the role model for his team by showing how he works everday. The leader needs to perform his attempt to make the colleagues follow and comprehend what their CEO wants from them. Actions speak louder than words. As a CEO, he just cannot speak to supply concrete guidance to the team. The leadership is the one who even has to work harder than most of the people in the company and that is how he communicates the organization’s values to inferiors.

The founder always has a substantial influence on the organization’s trait. His impact to the company can be through characteristics, thinking and performances at work.  Mr. Tri claimed that a CEO can be a trademark symbolizing the company. And sometimes, the product also is the element defining the organization and its leadership. For instance, Apple’s products indicate the creative feature and the pioneer Steve Job. To construct and maintain the organization culture, a good leader needs space to innovate, think, and strategize (Walter, 2013).

However, Cooperate culture is not all about the leadership (Keane & Casul, 2010 & 2012). In relation to the Ben Thanh Land Company, beside the importance of human’s value, the organization’s culture is also about the relationships with partners and clients, the correlation between leaders and inferiors, company’s strategies, vision and mission. Culture is a wide category, which changes throughout the development process.

Cooperate Culture and Employees’ Commitment

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Figure 2: Reproduced from caloriaimprove, 2012.

Working is just a part of a human life. In an organization, people are often connected together because of their tasks. Business is merely a trade. People can be satisfied with their work while some are not. The main purpose of these individuals is to earn for living. However, the culture of cooperation is the reason that inspires employees having a strong attachment to the team. Mr. Tri understands this point as trying to create a culture that his colleagues feel conformable with and have a sense of belonging to the company. Talking about business is talking about relationships and a great relationship allows great work to blossom (Solomon, 2008).

Consensus is the secret key value.

Among this competitive market with the open door policy, under any circumstances at any unpredictable time, the consensus of leader and employees will help the company to compete and survive. More than the self-determination of distinctive individuals, the encouragement from the leadership connects and boosts the team to endeavor and overcome hard situations. Moreover, the leadership needs to show their inferiors that how the whole company will go through and portray the team’s future since the leadership’s roles are dealing with changes and setting directions (Kotter, 1990).

Word count: 940

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Proof of life taken by Thanh Nha, 2013

Reference:

calorinaimprov 2012, ‘The Commitment Diet – Anyone can do it’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.carolinaimprov.com/2012/02/to-be-successful-at-anything-we-need-to-commit/&gt;

Keane, A & Casul, M 2010 & 2012, ‘Lecture 7 Organization Culture’, course notes for COMM2385 CLIENT MANAGEMENT, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 6 September 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

Kotter, P, J 1990, “What Leaders Really Do”, course note for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 7 August 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

maximizesocialmedia 2012,’ 7 Traits of Highly Successful Social CEO’s!’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://maximizesocialmedia.com/social-media-consulting-7-traits-of-highly-successful-social-ceos&gt;

Mind Tools 2013, ‘Understanding Workplace Values – Finding the Best Cultural Fit’, mindtools, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/understanding-workplace-values.htm&gt;

Pearson Canada 2013, ‘Values, Attitudes, and Their Effects in the Workplace’, pearsoncanada, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.pearsoncanada.ca/media/highered-showcase/multi-product-showcase/showcase-websites-4q-2012/M03_LANG1160_05_SE_C03.pdf&gt;

Solomon, Robert, 2008. The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Walter, E 2013, ‘8 Life And Leadership Lessons From Arianna Huffington’, Forbes, 9 March, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/09/03/8-life-and-leadership-lessons-from-arianna-huffington/&gt;

WHEN YOUR MANAGER IS A ‘VEGETARIAN SHARK’ !

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Vu Huynh Phuong Anh – Account Manager at Square Communcation Group

 

 Have you ever wonder if you had a chance to ‘face to face’ with a shark in the sea, would you know what is it hunting for? Your blood or your heart?

  Actually, this situation is like the competitive market of Advertising agencies nowadays, when  every  company is ‘scenting and hunting’ for their clients’ wallets by any ways without ethics and  consideration.  But don’t worry; there is still a ‘vegetarian shark’ that just wants to make clients be her  friends!  Her name  is Vu Huynh Phuong Anh, she has been an Account manager of Square Direct  Communication Group in  Ho Chi Minh City for 2 years. Square Group was established in 2005 by Vo  Thanh Trung, Tran Ngoc Tuan,  Nguyen Mai Hien, and Pham Hoang Thai Nhiem as four founders  starting their business with Event  Management and enlarging to IMC, PR and Promotional Marketing.  At the very first sight, I was deceived  by Phuong Anh’s appearance as an unapproachable and glacial  girl but I was wrong. When she  enthusiastically shared her 5-year experiences before applying to  Square Company, I changed my mind  and was absorbed by her unique working styles and the way she  acknowledges problems.

Do you choose the job or Does the job choose you actually?’ she said, “What you learn from University  may be changed in the way you can’t image, it’s called profession fate.

 Vegetarian Shark’s working styles

 For Phuong Anh, working with more than 10 companies in 5 years is not adorable and proficient  like  I  think. It’s just because of her reckless and unsubmissive characteristics, as we named her –  “shark”.  Interestingly, her major at Hoa Sen University was not Professional Communication but Sale.  Phuong Anh jumped from Sale manager to Account manager without hesitation and flinch because  “one important thing is that we have to make our disadvantages become our advantages by giving yourself a chance to try”, she stated.  The experience from Sale department in Grey Global Group in 2010 brings a lot of benefits for Phuong Anh to manage her current team. She thinks that the leaders or managers are people who inspire and motivate their members to work effectively based on the structure of agency. Leadership/ Management is having our ‘own organization’ and creating the ‘tectonics’, in other words, the solid foundation before collaborate with each other. Phuong Anh is one of the live witnesses of an unconventional manager because she doesn’t expect her team to be her reproduction/ copy but creative creators (Kimberly, p. 480). Moreover, Buddhism is one of the important factors that influence the way Phuong Anh deal with her internal aspects and clients. “Soul” is what she called the centre of our vibration which passionates and creates the positive energy to acknowledge problems in any circumstances objectively. This girl has the characteristics of a transformational leader as well. According to Podsakoff (p. 115), this kind of leader/manager is described as optimistic, passionate and visionary. Those outstanding features can spread like a ‘wildfire’, when it does, leaders and members can engage and fuel cohesion more effectively (Hemlin, p. 203).

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Phuong Anh with a monk at a pagoda in India in 2012 

‘Choppy sea’ in her life-work

When I asked her for the real scenario in Advertising agency environment,  Phuong Anh shared the most unforgettable memory related to Sam Sung’s event last year that her company would never want to face again. Everything was going on the right track until the opening day of event on 20th February 2013. Square had some problems with the supplier of the venue that they rent for. This guy didn’t allow Square to set up and let Sam Sung hold the event. No one in the company knew how to solve this disastrous problem because Sam Sung already announced for their VIPs and beloved customers the time through emails and social media. Money was not the only big problem but the reputation of both companies and their relationships with customers. Unfortunately, Account team was the representatives for Square to negotiate with Sam Sung and Phuong Anh had to do her best. Don’t let anyone disappointed, Phuong Anh persuaded Sam Sung to delay this event back to 2 days, besides that, instead of converting the losses from Sam Sung to money, Square would add more values for their client by organising a live show with the attending of celebrities to gain attention and mobilize Square’s own human resources to promote for Sam Sung event. This inventing option for mutual gains from Phuong Anh helped Sam Sung calm down and agree to keep working with Square. In other words, Phuong Anh saved face for her company without breaking their relationship with the customer (Fisher, 1991). At the end, Square proved that they could keep promises and fixed their mistakes successfully. The rest of those things were history.

Thao Dang, a member of Phuong Anh’s team, said that ‘Phuong Anh always knows how to bargain and negotiate in the best way that satisfied both Clients’ and her company’s interests.”

Phuong Anh added that “Sometimes money can’t buy our bosses’ and client’s happinesses but working with heart and soul”.

To sum up, client management issues happen and rotate every day; a good client manager knows how to clarify and build relationships with members of the client team who have strong impacts in purchasing decisions (Kimberly, p. 479). Furthermore, client managers should prepare and improve communication plans to keep clients up to date with developments of the company so as to maintain their loyalty for a long term. Besides that, before entering any negotiation with client, he/she must prepare for their BATNA (Best Alternative of the Negotiating Agreement) and determine what their company really wants, as stated from course Power Point for COMM2384 Client Management, because “He who sees through life and death will meet with most success” (Unknown, 2013). In my perspective, I agree with the honest sharing of Phuong Anh and she is one of my inspirations in pursuing my dream of Account manager in the future. “Always try to treat people the way you’d like to be treated”, she said.

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Phuong Anh and her Account team after the successful event with Sam Sung (at Square Office)

Total words: 996

Reference lists:

Fisher, R &Ury, W & Patton, B 1991, Getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in, 2dn, Penguin Books, USA.

Hemlin, S., Allwood, C. M., & Martin, B. R. (2009). Creative knowledge environments. Creativity Research Journal, 20, 200–209.

Kimberly S Jaussi, Shelley D Dionne. Leading for creativity: The role of unconventional leader behaviour. The Leadership Quarterly Leading for Innovation Edited by Michael D. Mumford Volume 14, Issues 4-5, (August-October 2003), Pages 475-498.

‘Negotiation Principles’ 2013, course Power Point for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 3 September 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

Podsakoff, P, Mackenzie, S, Moorman, R & Fetter, R 1990, ‘Transformational leader behaviors and their effect on followers’ trust in leader, satisfaction and organizational citizenship behaviors’, Leadership Quarterly, vol.1, no. 2, pp.110-135.

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