Working in STC

Creating Organisation charisma.

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By  Nasser A. Al-Darsouni Published  April 7, 2014

When you talk about corporation culture, think of it as a mountain formed over years of interaction between the participants in the organization. This factor what sets the company apart as a unique and special workplace or not.

The development begins at the business venture's inception, ready or not.  From the first day whether you are "Chairman"-"CEO" - "VP" - "General Manager" - or any mid-level manager - each decision you make or a person you hire a success you deliver contributes to the development of the company's culture.  Its an organic process; not an equation or something you easily can do in a day, well it's not, it is one of the toughest task you will ever take on.

My name is Nasser Al-Darsouni; I am an executive manager who been working in Saudi Telecom Company known as "STC" for about a decade and I'm writing this article about my experience there. My journey started in 2004 when I was appointed as a project manager in STC for one of the computer provider companies in the region. I joined one of the sectors, and I was eager to reveal what's behind this big company.  Frankly speaking, I was shocked about what I saw. Most of the employees seems to be loaded up with busy work and work that is not challenging to them. The work seems to be cyclical, boring, and they feel overworked with mundane tasks. There is no advancing forward toward their ultimate goal of getting more power as it comes with more responsibilities than normal day in the office.

At first I tried to concentrate on my work, and not interfere with the way they are working, but the plague was into me, and start effecting my work progress, at that time I decided to take a step. So, I tried to challenge the situation and improve myself as well others by sorting roles and responsibilities of me and other members of the department that I worked with. Some people get excited about the idea, others...., well...., they thought it's more than what they can bear, and they just want to go home by the end of the day with nothing in their minds.

Communication and teamwork; as I built the sense of an adventurous in 2006 when I joined wireless network sector as a consultant, I valued the open communication and teamwork fostered by "togetherness".  So, even though we outgrew the stasis in management and workers, we still all sit around a table sharing ideas, brainstorming and problem solving together but taking the next step seemed causing dreadfulness to them.

The company's success is not about the "you" or the "me" The operative word here is - "we."   And the "we" only works if it's based on mutual respect and uniform belief in a shared vision. So even if there were few have the ability to be creative, if they did not translate to their team, it would remain a cell in this mind, no one will know about it, and by all means no one will make use of it.

Hard work with results; our culture is not just about working hard.  It's about working hard and delivering quantifiable results. It's about constantly prioritizing our work so our efforts are expended on projects that will deliver the biggest "accomplishment". That was my principle that I shared with my organization in 2008 when wireless and fixed network were merged under one roof. Our hard work has to move the meter needle, or its just so much wasted effort.  Quantified results make it easier to identify the essential next steps and hone targets along the way.

Celebration of success; each time we successfully accomplish a target, the person responsible for it get awarded along with his team.  When we successfully deliver a significant project, the project manager also has the honor of get awarded along with his team.  And the rest of the department cheers. Sound "insipid?"  Well, it's not.  It is a celebration of the delivery of tangible, quantifiable results for the company. We celebrate everything - promotions, birthdays, weddings, babies, summer's and winter's arrival, and the holidays.  Nothing passes by without some acknowledgement - however small. It will break the barriers between the manager and his team.

During my work with STC, I "sometimes" was thinking at a point of quitting and seeking a job elsewhere, where I can absorb new knowledge edge and gain experience. My legacy with the employees that I worked with is must look for work that is thought provoking and to experience new tasks with which they can grow in knowledge about the job.

STC now is much much better than what it used to be, the company now working towards a new strategy under new leadership, start a transformation program, to encourage participation in outside networks, to make the best of employees' environment, and to lead by example. The purpose of leadership is to change the world around you in the name of your values, so you can live those values more fully

However, the most important thing for a strong corporate culture is a shared vision - of what the company is and will be - that is clearly understood and embraced by the entire team.  It is a shared belief in the company's vision that makes people go the extra mile on a project when no one is looking...That makes someone take an hour out of their day to help set up a new employee so the employee can be productive quickly...That causes people to step up to the plate and deliver their best effort, day in and day out, whether they get a pat on the back, or not.  This shared vision is the "element" that binds all the other cultural factors into a cohesive whole, and keeps the team focused and moving forward with purpose, against all odds.

An advice to anyone in managing position; Know your employees better. Let your employees takes an active interest in you, listens to their perspectives and concerns. Be self-aware; open to feedback, has a sense of humor, comes across as genuine. Inspires them around the goals of your organization; lays out a vision that you find consequential and energizing. Provides feedback and support in a way that is encouraging and helpful; empowers them. Have a positive outlook, even tempered - even under stress. Develop them, offer opportunities at work for your people to grow. Communicate clearly, early, and often, be clear about your expectations of them. Recognize performance, When you celebrate accomplishments, you demonstrate you care about them. Profitability, Growth, Quality, Exceeding customer expectations, these are not examples of values, these are examples of corporate strategies being sold to you like values.

In the end, it's a real challenge to see things in straightforward, but to be part of this and challenge all the expectations is what matter.


1874 days ago
Geoff Nicholson

This is an excellent article by Nasser Al-Darsouni who is a true visionary and leader of people.

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