Our culture, our future.

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Our culture, our future.

Author: Nguyen Thi Minh Giang, Former Partner of Talent and Culture, Mekong Capital

Sep 13, 2019


Nguyen Thi Minh Giang, Partner of Talent and Culture, Mekong Capital

Nguyen Thi Minh Giang, Former Partner of Talent and Culture, Mekong Capital

Dai — Human Resources Director at F88 stood alone while others chatting in the conference hall. His arms blocked in front of his chest. He saw me approaching, started pouring: “I did not understand what the coach said at all, it was so theoretical, too complicated, will it work?”

It was in March 2017 and he was newly recruited as HRD. He was eager to join Vanto training program, which contributed to Mobile World Group’s success. Behind the anger, I could feel the passion inside his heart.

I was a bit worried, however, after three days of the training session, he shared: “There is something “weird” going on here. Previously, F88 leadership team used to avoid having communication with each other. We could only talk directly when we got drunk. But now, we spoke the same language, we could easily talk to each other about everything”.

It was indeed a good start for F88 team. From his sharing, it seemed that F88 leaders somehow had opened to each other. Thus, I was quite sure that with this momentum, the team could move on quickly to build up F88’s culture. But,..

Later in 2018, Dai said in our meeting,“Now, we have defined our the core values but the employees still cannot embrace them fully”.

I could not understand. Over the year, Dai had proactively asked me to collect all training materials, scheduled bi-monthly coaching with me and attended other coaching sessions with Mr. Luom from MWG. Despite his effort, some of his employees did not commit to the expected behaviors. Dai was disappointed.

“What was going on here?”

We sat in the meeting room, I decided to fully listen to Dai, to his concerns and struggles throughout the year. When he stopped talking, I suddenly found the root cause:

“I got it. I knew where we went wrong. Although F88 leadership team had joined Vanto’s training and aligned on the set of core values, I could not see their footprints in your activities to cascade down to your employees. The top leaders should always be present to ensure the core values are in existent. It is not too late. We can handle this”.

I firmly made my point. Dai immediately saw the problem, happily agreed: “Yeah, we need living examples so all employees can relate to. My HR team should involve Tuan and other leaders in our training to maximize the influence”.

“That’s awesome” — I said.

Shortly after our discussion, I held a sharing session for to all F88 leadership teams. I painted a clear picture of: “Why corporate culture? What is corporate culture? What the future looks like if F88 build or the pain if they don’t build the corporate culture, how to keep in existence?”. As I received the hint from Do Khanh Van, our Deal Leader, I requested each member of leadership team to generate at least 3 actions “how to keep the core values in existence” right after the session. Dai volunteered to ensure the actions would be tracked and Do Khanh Van would involve in holding them accountable for these.

Together, we indeed made a breakthrough. The leadership team aligned and declared leading by examples. Tuan — CEO sent me the message “It is very inspiring, now I know what to do next”.

One year later, we met again for lunch in April 2019. Dai was waiting for me with a big smile on his happy face. I could not wait to hear from him.

As expected, he began to talk just when I come at close, “ In the past, I called 10 candidates to arrange the interview, 3 accepted but then, they all did not show up when they saw the tag line “Pawn shop” but now, more and more candidates proactively apply to the job because they are interested in our culture”. After a little pause, he continued, “We have a Culture Team to organize all the culture activities within the company. Everyone now is speaking our core values and vision. We also publish monthly magazine to share our stories internally, especially those from our leaders as living examples.’

“Great! Did you need to ask Tuan for his approval in such projects?” — I asked with a NO already in my mind.

Oh No need. We are aligned ever since. Our culture is our future.”.

I smiled from ear to ear. As HRD, Dai had successfully inspired his leadership team on board to build the company culture in F88. The leadership team has become living examples of F88 core values, which have been the breath of the organisation. And yes, corporate culture is corporate future!

F88's internal newspapers

F88’s internal newspapers

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Mekong Capital makes investments in consumer-driven businesses and adds substantial value to those companies based on its proven framework called Vision Driven Investing. Our investee companies are typically among the fastest-growing companies in Vietnam’s consumer sectors.

In January 2022, Mekong Capital founder Chris Freund published Crab Hotpot, a story about a bunch of crabs who found themselves stuck in a boiling pot. The colorful cover of “Crab Hot Pot,” complete with expressive cartoon crustaceans, looks like a children’s tale at first glance. But as one continues reading, it becomes clear that the work has an important message about organizational transformation, leadership and focusing on a clear vision for the future.

The book is available on Tiki (Hard copy): bit.ly/38baF8a (Vietnamese) and Amazon: amzn.to/3yWunzG (English)

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