One of the most difficult and fundamental issues that any company faces is getting the right balance between many peoples’ innate desire for self-advancement and the need for collaboration to achieve common goals.
I am always reminded about former US President Harry Truman’s quote on the ideal scenario: “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care who takes the credit.”
This is a truism that’s always worth remembering. And yet across all walks of life, we all know someone who constantly promotes themselves at the expense of others, or who seems to have particularly sharp elbows as they climb the corporate tree.
If you work in a company where this kind of behaviour is very familiar then I think it is one that fundamentally has not built a true ownership culture. This is why we work so hard on our core values at THP: they are what help us to create a working environment where individuals who make an effort and contribute to the team are rewarded and thrive.
I have mentioned our core values many times before, but in this blog post I would like to highlight one that is particularly relevant to the subject – the Spirit of Business Ownership.
We cultivate a sense of ownership by ensuring that each employee has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities within their respective teams and the wider organization. We also emphasize that everyone is important and each role is critical to our long-term success.
Giving people this security and confidence helps to create a strong foundation to promote collaboration because it makes people feel less threatened. We also make it very clear what actions and behavioural traits we value in achieving company-wide goals and attaining promotions.
Because this is so clearly articulated, we find that there is much less dissatisfaction or disagreement when one person gets promoted and another does not. This has a second benefit because it enables the person who has been promoted to execute their new job without colleagues trying to sabotage them.
We reinforce all of this during our annual employee reviews. Many companies try to ensure that managers cannot take undue credit by instituting 360-degree reviews.
We have added a second layer too. We don’t just promote people on the basis of hitting targets but their adherence to our core values.
In 2017, we took this a step further by launching a program called the THP Family Pool. Those employees who demonstrate the three Hs – honest, hardworking and helpful – are asked if they would like to join.
In return we consider the employee’s family members an extension of the Trần family alongside my father, mother, Bich and I. We will take care of their family’s health and education including overseas schooling if this is what they would like for their children.
The second core value, which helps to reinforce collaboration is Integrity. We urge everyone to be respectful and committed: to focus on their role and not what someone else might be saying about them.
And we back this up with concrete action. If someone has the right mindset they will not only be acknowledged but also rewarded.