Organizational Culture: values over symbols, HBR tips

Today I want to share something I consider very important to any business that is keen on identifying as a brand. HBR management tip of the day has this amazing tips to consider. The piece is short and informative.

Below I have left a link it’s a handy app for people interested in learning from the business world. This is a must have app!

How to Think About Organizational Culture

Organizational culture shapes both employee productivity and business results, but often it is ambiguous and hard to define. To help, think of culture as three layers with increasing levels of importance: Culture is seen through symbols, rituals, stories, and organizational events — the first things we experience when we join an organization. Culture is reflected in how people in the organization think, behave, and feel — in other words, it appears in individual values, team norms, and unwritten rules. Culture is the company’s identity as perceived by its best customers, representing an outside-in view. For example, Apple wants to be known for its design and simplicity; Marriott, for exceptional service; Google, for innovation. By shifting the focus on culture from symbols to
(#1) values
(#2) to customer expectations and company identity
(#3), leaders can better create and define a culture that wins in the marketplace.

Adapted from “Your Company Culture Can’t Be Disconnected from Your Customers,” by Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank

iPhone app:
Android app:

Want to become an Ethical leader?

Leaders should be a key source of ethics in their organizations, promoting ethical practices and guidance for the employees.There are four things leaders should consider to foster ethical leadership: integration of ethics into leadership styles, cross-cultural influences on leadership, decision making in ethical leadership and employees role in ethical leadership. This list is not exhaustive but this are basic steps leaders can take.

  1. Integration of ethics into leadership styles: This is the leader asking themselves what kind of leader I’m I,  Do I inspire others? Do I have a vision? I’m I striving to empower and improve? Carrying out a self- evaluation on your leadership is the first step to ethical leadership.
  2. Cross-cultural influences on leadership: The world is growing diverse and leading multi-culturally is not easy, different cultures hold different value systems and beliefs. However, there are shared premises of all human behavior that may act as tenets and  guide against unethical practices in leadership. This are attributes that describe ethical leadership across cultures and include:  character, integrity, people orientation and accountability.
  3. Decision making and ethical leadership: Making decisions based on rational choices is the underlying idea to fostering ethical decision making. However, being rational is mucked by numerous challenges that arise as a result of being human. The key here is to be aware of the weakness ‘man know thy self’. Being aware of ethnocentrism, inaccurate theories about the world and honesty  when making decisions helps in building ethical leadership.
  4. Employees role in ethical leadership: Two scholars asked a very crucial question “what if leaders don’t behave ethically- who is responsible then?” This is when it becomes important to empower employees and build them up to be creative thinkers and making them able to actively respond to unethical leaders without fear.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that unethical practices are not something rampant in most organizations. Most organizations to the contrary, have strong ethical cultures and policies to prevent unethical practices perhaps due to organizational beliefs or laws that protect against such conduct. However, bad news is easy to sell especially in today’s capitalistic society characterized by heavy competition. One wrong decision by a few leaders/employees can have a multi-national company with thousands employees dragged into unethical scandals, but this may not be the true representation of the situation. Of course there are some few exemptions of outright unethical companies whose vision, mission and goal is just profit at whatever cost, but this unethical journey does not last long thanks to laws, regulations and awareness in the business industry.

Leaders have a huge and tough role to play in establishing an ethical culture in an organization. Apart from developing formal documents and policies on ethical conduct, they must display ethical leadership in their leadership style, relations with others, daily behavior, conduct and decisions. They must send out strong messages on the importance of leadership and establish clear reward and punishment systems to hold employees accountable. Their focus must be on promoting ethical leadership instead of the avoidance of unethical leadership. Over and above these they must ensure that they have an empowered workforce that can actively respond towards unethical practices within the organization. Additionally, the organizational climate should be one that eludes ethical practices and behavior, it is not an easy task but such are issues that deal with ethics and morals.

In the words of Martin Luther King, the time is always right to do what is right.



The above text is a summary and extract from the paper Ethical Leadership: Beyond What Meets the Eyes for complete article click here


3 years later…


One day someone will be reading this, certainly, an older me and I will be happy I came back. It’s a few weeks to 3 years since my last post that claimed I would be writing more. I didn’t. Since July 2013 a lot has happened; graduation, working, resigning, moving abroad for studies, learned a new language and now as I write I am a few weeks to finishing my MSc. Honestly, I have no reason why I stopped publishing on spoetess, at some point I even thought of deleting the blog (a story for another day). The good thing is, I have never stopped writing, honestly I don’t think I ever will.

I think it’s safe to say I’m back and hopefully better. I have two simple goals consistency and  a new category . The new category, will include academic articles I have been working on for the last 2 years of course edited for spoetess. I am a psychology major so hopefully they will be interesting, informative and relatable. I won’t go on about what I’m going to do – I’ve heard a saying action speak louder that words. At spoetess words= actions.

the spoetess, is back!

greetings all

….its been a while since the last post, am ‘writingly’ sweeping my page from webs. Anyways I’m back and  I’m done with school and  awaiting graduation for my Honours degree🙂🙂🙂

Check back soon for a wonderful adventure article on the most serene place I’ve been to in my life  and travels so far

and oohhh got a job:-) :-)$$$$

ciao the Spoetess.


I have finally decided to write about this because

  • It’s about time I did
  • The accurate memory of events is starting to fade slowly

It was winter break in Poland, not sure if it was end of January or beginning of February (see what I mean) but this was my visit to Krakow, Poland. We departed from Warsaw on Wednesday and headed to Krakow by road a 6 hours journey. We had pre booked a hostel which was quite affordable and student friendly called  backpackers  it was around $7 or Ksh. 600 a day. I was travelling with five other students and friends from different countries so it was quite fun I must say.

Here are some pics …

the churches
the big bell
Auschwitz - labour makes (you) free
Auschwitz – labour makes (you) free

Day 1

We arrived in Krakow around 3 pm I guess and started our hunt for the hostel, none of us could speak Polish so Google maps was our sole guide plus an expert backpacker, one of the 6 – thank God for you girl.  We finally found the place, we were freezing it was minus something outside and snowing so we got to our room and headed out for something warm. It was a small cosy restaurant with a warm ambiance can still remember the feeling of my warm latte.

Day 2

We embarked on our trip to auschwitz birkenau which was around one and a half hours away. Being a non-European I actually learned a lot about the world war II that day and all the sad and very wrong things that went down with that. It was a long trip and tour and we actually spent the whole day there, we had hired a cab driver who took us to the place and picked  us up for Ksh.1000 or each.$12 quite student friendly.  We passed by a small church on our way back one the oldest one in Poland. We arrived at Krakow hostel 6pm my friends went out dancing later and I was left in the hostel on Skype with my boyfriend (you don’t wanna read about that, trust me).

Day 3

This was our final day in Krakow, we went to visit the city square, the malls and the old churches/ big bell.Krakow the town isn’t that big or at least the places we toured  because we walked everywhere. The results to this was freezing and numb   feet not a good idea but trust me we had worse ideas, think of a day in the zoo at -12c. Nevertheless, this was a wonderful day for me and Krakow is really beautiful apart from the cold in January, we then checked back to the hostel to check out and say good bye to Krakow and back to Warsaw in preparation to work on Monday.

For me I had another thing planned, I was visiting another town called Krosno through another town called Rzeszow. This was my first time travelling alone in a foreign country, I was a nervous wreck !! So I bid my friends good bye and it was google maps again to the bus station… Me, a Black girl, with no Polish, alone, travelling to remote locations in Poland -oh boy, that’s a story for another day

Cost of travel per person Warsaw to Krakow

Bus Ksh.2000 or $25

Hostel Ksh. 600*3 or $7*3

Tour Ksh 1000 0r $12

Food and Drinks Ksh 1500 or $20

Travel Advisory: Tour in summer !!!!

SHE power

She loves this feeling!



In control

Self – everything and anything

She feels complete or better whole

She is not perfect she admits,

But living without the ‘I wish’


She has discovered her niche in life,

She is confident, overriding, and alive.

She is her own self,

No can or will ever be her

Life in her hands knowing,

She is the only her that the world will get.



She no saint; she accepts

Doing a little good everyday

Makes her even a better her…

Self belief