The importance of having a right and solid culture can’t be overstated for the long-term success of any company. Over the past few years, culture has become one of the most talked-about topics in the corporate world. Tech companies across the world invest millions in creating the right culture and many credits the growth and sustainability of their business to having a strong culture. Because the right culture empowers people, gives them a sense of purpose, and helps cultivate a love for the work and organization.
While discussion around culture is quite common in a tech startup setting in most places in the world, it is not a commonplace thing in Bangladesh yet. There are companies that care about culture and deliberately invest in creating one and there are also companies that don’t care much. And it often makes a difference. Moreover, people often misunderstand culture and leave it to HR and consider it something as touchy-feely and less important a component of the business.
Culture is rarely about rules, it is about people. It is about what people do and how people interact within the organization and with outside stakeholders. Many startup founders overlook culture building in their early days. Always under pressure, founders rarely pay active attention to the growing culture in the organization. But whether we pay attention to it or not, culture happens in an organization. And when we don’t make deliberate attempts, things can go terribly wrong as the company grows.
Culture is like habits. It is what we repeatedly do. And once learned, it is hard to change. This demands we become mindful of organizational culture from the early days.
Muntasir Tahmeed is the co-founder and Managing Director of Inspira Advisory and Consulting Ltd, a Dhaka-based research and consulting firm that helps bi-lateral donors, UN agencies, and Nonprofits to design better-informed, data-driven interventions.
Founded in 2015, Inspira has experienced excellent growth within a short period of time and has quickly become a leading player in the space.
In an interview with Future Startup published in 2021, we asked Muntasir about the culture at Inspira and his experience of building a strong culture. Below we share his answers from the interview.
Could you please tell us about your organizational culture?
Muntasir Tahmeed: Although the portfolio may suggest otherwise, Inspira started its operations only six years ago. Contrary to the traditional management framework of consulting firms with CXOs having decades of experience, Inspira is run by a team of late millennials and early Gen- Z team members. But the continued collaboration by reputed clients with Inspira, testaments to the fact that beyond the often sought ‘experience’, it is the ‘agile problem-solving trait of the youth which also adds definite value to the clients’ programming approach.
We operate under the guiding framework of 10 driving mantra as we call it:
Challenge Everything: Everyone at Inspira can challenge everything and correct the course of action.
Seize Opportunity. Explore. Grow: As a young company in the field, we never say ‘NO’ to an opportunity. We are open to new thematic areas and continued growth through learning.
Obsessed with structure: Bringing methods to the madness is key to consistency. Operating in a structured manner in every aspect of our work allows us to be more effective in executing any task twice and is a foundational principle of Inspira.
Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness: Being restrained in your option to accomplish a task allows you to consider your path accomplishment more carefully and often leads to finding further potential within what is accessible to you.
No task is beneath or above any rank: All team members must stay connected to the minute details and are skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ.
Open book management: Inspira believes trust and mutual growth is the key to success. We are open to sharing with you and bringing you in to be a part of management decisions.
Hard work is the key: Hard work is not a cliché but the key recipe to Gap-fill the grey-hair vacuum.
The office is where your head (and internet) is: The workspace is your mind, not the office. That is where you should work and not tie it to a device or a location.
Work smart and be heard: Scaling up (and growth) is proportional to templatization and presence management.
Transferable communication: Our work and conversations-both should be transferable with minimum slippage.
I would say we are a learning organization and we are implementing our knowledge on the fly. Work-life balance is something we are learning. We have not yet grown to a size where we can hire highly experienced HR professionals who can develop sensible HR policies.