Although the results and lessons of the Orange Revolution have already been discussed at length, the Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s School of Business has just made a discovery: the experience of revolutionaries can improve the business environment. According to Dean Pavlo Sheremet, “a large number of people worked enthusiastically for a long time and for a common cause without any guidance, while most managers only dream of their subordinates doing the same.” Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s business school students decided to find out how to achieve this kind of result.
Their research shows that an “orange market strategy” is based on exploiting five elements in the corporate culture. The chief element is a creative idea that has a certain charisma. In the case of the Orange Revolution, this idea was the historic significance of the events and the importance of each participant. In Mr. Sheremet’s view, an idea — not money — can make an individual work in a particular place. But this idea should be powerful, simple, and easy to explain. A company should also have one clearly-defined competitor, so that actions will be aimed at winning a victory over someone. The second element is corporate values, which should differ radically from the ones that a company’s competitors cherish. Naturally, there can be no objections to common human values, but what made the November-December events stand out from similar events was their positioning as a peaceful revolution. These kinds of values can replace a host of directives and instructions by offering moral, rather than coercive, checks and balances.
No less important to successful performance are a company’s customary rituals, such as birthday parties or monthly strategy meetings, which bind people together and instill team spirit. This category also includes the constant need for new initiatives: people should be kept alert and busy; there should be continuous contact between the executive and his/her subordinates, so that the latter do not feel deserted.
In Mr. Sheremet’s view, the company manager’s position should be presented in a heroic light, for people must know that their collective has a hero to emulate. Yet, while extolling the manager’s personality, it is also equally important to emphasize the heroism of all the subordinates. Special praise must be given for observing and upholding all the corporate values.
Symbols are by far the most decisive element of a corporate culture. This is a powerful factor that can cement the collective. They are crucial for successful managers to strengthen the corporate culture. It is important to select the right kind of symbol, which should then be adopted and used in the interior design, employee dress code, and corporate communication details.
However, declared slogans must correspond to the values that the employees really possess; otherwise, the desired result will not be achieved. Businessmen must also remember that the Orange Revolution was of short duration, while every company expects to function for at least a few years. So it will constantly have to keep its employees interested, and to preserve and cultivate a corporate culture and style. Mr. Sheremet has an important piece of advice: to keep employees from being inflexibly accustomed to the imposed style and corporate culture, the company should periodically change its team and, as a last-resort measure, transfer the boss to another position.