When the story of the NSCDC (National Security and Civil Defence Corps) Commandant, Obafaiye Shem, broke on Channels, the critical monster in everyone came barging forth. A number of us were quick to crucify him, leaving comments like:

“If he didn’t know the company’s website, he should have just said the truth; that he didn’t!”

“Ah, ah, a man of his rank, should have known the company’s website, how could he not know?

Some were more temperate at analyzing the situation:

“You can’t blame him now, at least he said something, if he stayed quiet, wouldn’t that have been more embarrassing?

“The man is old. People forget. It’s possible he knew but was under too much pressure to remember”.

On and on, and on, we Laughed Out Loud (LOL) at his legendary cliche: “My Oga at the Top!”

He was mocked; Designers imprinted his words on t-shirts and Video Editors made him look even more ridiculous in vine videos. However, it was a lesson point. Certainly, a number of people went back to the drawing board to stuff their heads with all the company’s information they could retain; relevant or not.

Ever wondered why that unfortunate incidence became viral? Here’s a thought..

The capital mistake many of us make, is that we do not know our organisational culture?

Like human beings, every organisation has a personality. This personality is described as organisational culture.

When a sales girl attends to you politely and with respect, it’s a direct function of two things: her very own personality, and the influence her organisation may have had on her over time.

There are two personalities at work in the work place; yours and your organisations. But which personality is most imperative? Some mothers would often say “As long as you are in my house, you will do exactly as I say!” This doesn’t end with the children alone, even the domestic staffs are wise enough to comply with her demands or they will, well, find their way out to another job.  Heaven knows if parents still adhere to that principle or if everyone is a boss in their own right.

According to Brown, 1995, corporate culture is the pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with experiences that have developed over the course of an organisation’s history, and which tend to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviour of its members.

The culture of an organisation does not exist in isolation. It is integrated with every aspect of the organisation. The culture of any corporate entity is most clearly seen in its people.

An organisation’s leadership and employees are walking, talking “billboard”  that project the organisation’s personality by what they say and how they say it, by what they do and how they do it.

Companies may have similar cultural attributes; however, just like human DNA, the culture of any given company is necessarily unique. Even organisations within the same local or industry, or those that provide identical goods and services, cannot share identical cultures.

A company’s culture reflects and supports it particular mission, vision, strategies, objectives and management. If they ask employee of a company what it is like to work where they do, you are likely to get a good description of the company’s culture.

Responses could include descriptions of:

  • Spoken and unspoken rules in their work place
  • Expected and modelled behaviours of staff in the company;
  • General atmosphere or climate at work
  • Physical description of the office layout;
  • Process and procedures for getting things done;
  • Common beliefs and ideologies governing actions at work
  • Core values that are widely promoted and advocated

Six Important Facts about Corporate Culture:


  • Is based on unseen underlying values and beliefs
  • Is developed and learned over time
  • Is shaped by the shared experiences of members of a group
  • Influences the thoughts and actions of individuals
  • Provides a unique identity to individuals and organisations
  • Is passed on to new members that join the organisation

To continue reading, get LEAP’s Publication on “Corporate Culture: The Essence of Winning Companies”. Visit our website for more information


Tosin Runsewe (Managing Director, Mansard Insurance Plc.)

 (Ranked #3 in Nigeria’s 2012 Great Place to Work Survey)

“I am convinced that if enduring corporate giants are to emerge from Nigeria (or indeed Africa), they would have to evolve positive corporate cultures firmly founded on shared sustainable values. This is a must read for current and intending leaders of corporate Africa”.

Juan Manual Elegido, (Vice-Chancellor, Pan African University).

(Ranked #6 in Nigeria’s 2012 Great Place to Work Survey)

“As Chief Executive of my organisation, there is no topic that concerns me more, nor one to which I devote more attention and concentrated thought, than to building up and maintaining the right culture for the university. For this most difficult task, “Corporate Culture: The Essence of Winning Companies” is a reliable, authoritative and practical guide, rooted in the realities of the Nigerian environment”.

A critical factor in the success of any winning company is a strong and positive organisational culture!

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