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    Message of the week

    Week 08
    file

    Watch your ‘UGRs’ (unwritten ground rules)

    We are fortunate at Kyocera, in that we have a strong set of guiding principles in the form of our philosophies that speak to a desirable culture within the organisation. Key among these is “what is the right thing to do as a human being?” which asks us to consider the fundamental ethical and moral values of goodness when making decisions in the work place.

    I believe, however, that despite a stated philosophy and value statement, we need to remain aware of the UGRs (unwritten ground rules) that arise in business, quite often unintentionally. These can bethings like: “Customers are a necessary evil”, or “there’s no point raising my concerns in a meeting because only certain voices are heard”. As this article points out: “Actions speak louder than words, and employees will follow unspoken, expected patterns of behaviour rather than comply with words in the corporate mission statement.”

    As leaders, I believe it is essential that we don’t leave culture to chance, it is important
    that we recognise that UGRs exist and that we address them directly.

     In the article mentioned above, international speaker and author Steve Simpson advocates a seven-step strategy for harnessing the positive values of UGRs. The ones that stand out for me are:

    • Createpositive UGRs – Involve your organisation in converting existing and developing new UGRs that support positive behaviour.
    • Ensure your managers “walk the talk” by demonstrating their personal commitment and behaving in a way that supports positive UGRs.
    • Regularly monitor performance against positive UGRs.

     If we base our UGRs on positive values and constantly ask ourselves whether our behaviour reflects "What is universally right as a human being?" rather than "What best suits our own convenience?" we can create a culture that is in harmony with our organisation’s values.

    Michelle Frenzel - Human Resources Manager - KYOCERA Document Solutions South Africa

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