As a management consultant or board member, I have been involved in a good number of efforts to foster the appropriate corporate culture in some leading Philippine firms such as United Laboratories, DMCI, Insular Life, Benguet Corporation and Alaska Milk Corporation. I have attempted to operationalize what is known as Management By Mission in the creation of a corporate culture based on integrity, hard work, competence and teamwork.
I think I owe it to both my students in the various programs of the University of Asia and the Pacific and the business executives who turned to me for coaching or mentoring to describe in greater detail the corporate culture that those of us who started the Center for Research and Communication in 1967 deliberately nurtured. Hopefully, what I write here can inspire both academic and non-academic institutions to strive to build their own corporate culture along similar if not identical lines.
Attention to the smallest details, team spirit, the dignity of work and human elegance are in the very DNA of the University of Asia and the Pacific. This is so primarily because its foundation as the Center for Research and Communication in 1967 was upon the personal instigation and inspiration of St. Josemaria Escriva, Founder of Opus Dei, who encouraged a group of professional people to establish a think tank that should eventually evolve in time to a full-blown university. From the very beginning, it was clear that the undertaking would be carried out and promoted by the faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei in close collaboration with individuals - whether Christians or not - who understand, appreciate, and live the spirit of the Work. As St. Josemaria always emphasized, big things start small, and great things can be accomplished if every little thing is done with perfection. There were very few of us who started CRC, all convinced of and enthused by the teachings and spirit of St. Josemaria. Through the years, we were joined by other individuals who consciously and deliberately made the effort to assimilate such aims as spelled out in the mission and vision of UA&P.
There is a historical and anecdotical reason, however, why those four features of the spirituality of Opus Dei mentioned above were evident from the very first institutional activity of CRC, which was to organize an international conference for business and economic journalists coming from different parts of Asia. CRC had just moved into the headquarters that it would occupy for the next fifteen years, in a rented residential house on Jorge Bocobo St. in Malate, Manila. At that time, CRC's economists were giving classes to the members of the Business and Economic Reporters Association of the Philippines (BERAP) that was asked to organize an international seminar for Asian journalists. Without much advanced notice, BERAP decided to hold the international conference in the new premises of CRC, that had just been vacated by an international aid organization. As the day of the conference approached, the skeleton staff of CRC - including the Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director and Corporate Secretary - had to help the one janitor employed in cleaning the premises which were not exactly well maintained by the previous occupants. Because of the short notice given, it was only the day before the conference that someone noticed that the elegant chandelier in the living room had glass parts that must have been last cleaned years ago.
There was no question: the chandeliers had to be polished. The management staff, researchers and janitor all put their hands literally together, taking the glass components apart one by one, cleaning each one until they glittered and then putting them back also one by one. Those of us who were involved in that tedious work were very thankful for the opportunity to experience first hand was St. …