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"I believe that business leaders must decode their organisational DNA & release human potential in their organisation in order to overachieve the goals they set"

Author of Organisational Blueprints

Author of We@Work Team-aligning Platform 

International Award of RCCC Management

Chief Technical Advisor of Private/Public Programs

Speaker, Influencer 

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In the past nearly 15 years, Mrs Đặng Thị Hải Hà, Respect Vietnam CEO/Founder & Creator of Platform, has had hundreds of special meetings with world & regional leaders. Among them are of global or national strategic discussions. But above of all, she has been nurturing a passion for leaders' stories in Vietnam, decoding their successes, failures & help them overachieve the goals they set or exceed the status quo they are in.

"Vietnamese leaders are super sensitive with business opportunities, which is called "opportunity-minded". However many of them still lack of or seek for "business-minded", which means admirable aptitude for business, going global & thinking local sustainably"

In Vietnam, admired entrepreneurs are mostly because of their fast growth, robust expansion, or extraordinary raised capitals in the short run. That is obvious. However, to anticipate admirable business mindsets, the ability to achieve long-term goals must be prioritized. According to Ha, business mindset comes first with the ability to truly understand their own organizations, aka "organizational DNA".

​Each company is an organization with a distinctive value, structure, style of its own. Organizational DNA (the so-called Organisational Culture) is the combination of the above-mentioned distinctions.  Organizational DNA is formed by collective & individual behaviors in a period of time & it also influences these behaviors. Organizational DNA has been constantly decoded to explain business successes or failures & help leaders improve or complete the DNA towards organizational excellence. In short, Organisational DNA determines the motives behind all business decisions. 

"I had a very interesting meeting with the highest-level leader of a famous Vietnamese corporation, He passionately discussed Jim Collins' book "From Good to Great". He believes that discipline culture is the most important & aggressive leverage to build giants from small businesses in the short term. And the truth is he did it, as admirably as other successful business leaders of his time. However when I met two of his young CEOs, they took deep breaths "He keeps asking me whether I read the book, which part I impress the most, and if I said I had neither yet read it nor impressed, he was so disappointed" - Ha recalled.


Although they greatly admire the leader, these CEOs struggle with manpower issues "70% of our staff do not think twice before they take any task or job". They are passive, conservative & only trying some % of their best. There might be many reasons but the discipline culture that the Chairman upholds should be the important one. With just a mistakenly sent email, one will get a fine of USD 100. If one fails to report the wrongly addressed emails he/she will get a deduction of USD 500 out of their income. For the higher positions, if one forgets to sign off bills for 5 cups of coffee, a few thousand USD will be deducted out of his/her pay for an internal rule violation. The whole corporation seems to be sinking in discretionary actions. Ironically enough, some managers might get hundreds of fines or discipline decisions yet never get fired or terminated. Above all, the ultimate goal of "being at the better version" has not been yet achieved, only breaking even and the leaders do not understand why.

"My passion is to help leaders decode their own organizational DNA, improve them, with their teams getting to where they want to go to" - Ha confirms.

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The confirmation is why Ha has been pursuing this path in the past 15 years, even before she graduated from School of Human Resource Management & Labor Relation in Cornell University, one of 8 Ivy League schools in the US. 


"I have been studying, developing & pilot-testing a number of organisations of all sizes with various organisational gene models. The feel to touch the human aspect of the most complicated, sensitive & multi-dimensional issues is so amazing, both challenging & awarding when you are successful, feeling like you are able to help hundreds or even thousands of people in those businesses, organisations"

In 2013 Hà founded a consulting & research company specialising in people & organisational development named Respect Vietnam, the name aligning with Level 5 - the highest level of Peoplehood & Respect in the five management levels by John C Maxwell which is popular among Vietnamese business community.


In the past years, Ha & her associates have been decoding & improving organisational DNA for a number of businesses, with a number of different project names depending on the businesses' expectations & their degree of knowledge about organisational DNA. 


For examples with large-scale Vietnamese & foreign-invested manufacturers, their goals are to understand the collective expectations & behaviours  by thousands of workers in order to avoid conflicts, lawsuits, wildcat strikes & bad reputation of violating international labor standards that their clients such as NIKE, Apple, IKEA, etc. require or even obligate. For medium-size hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, in addition to better branding, they want to improve internal productivity & collaboration to serve their customers better. Global superbrands who stay in Vietnam for years such as Honda, Samsung, etc, expect to see their Vietnamese leaders' transformation from "on the ground" operating mindsets into "helicopter view" ones in order to translate global strategies into local successes in response to fast-changing crises like Covid19.

Such expectations could not be made a reality with few piecemeal, patterning interventions or on one or two layers of personnel in the whole organisation. The highest-level leaders or final decisions makers must understand their organisational DNA before making any transformation or changes.

However the official name of the service Respect Vietnam provides is relatively rare & hard to find in the local market. The majority prefers to call it "organisational culture" to "organisational DNA". To develop the working cultures, most of companies invest in collective events, sport, retreats, etc. to build teamwork, collaboration, and alignment. However, more and more leaders realise that these are only "tip of the iceberg" efforts: Many teams coming back from retreats face again crisis, conflicts, disagreements. Instead, they invite international consulting firms to help evaluate their status quo at the high cost. They understand  that their organisational DNA only changes from within. And we are confident to provide the similar global-standard services at much lower cost for local businesses" - Ha said. 

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Back to the leader who upholds Culture of Discipline, Ha analyses that: Facing challenges posed by Vietnamese working mentality of "culture of water" - as how we participate in traffic (*smile), he might want to create a frame for disciplined people to take highest responsibility with highest work results to take the company to where they want to be.

However, the way they deploy Culture of Discipline might create barriers to the performance of 70%  of the workforce while the rest (30%) might not be able to carry the burden of the whole organisation.

Contrarily, Culture of "Non-Discipline" upholds agility, flexibility, rule-avoidance for the workforce to freely develop. However this culture actually lets "thousands of flowers bloom", ideas flourish but nobody knows what the other is doing, top executives are too weak or disengaged to rein in the excesses, giving rise to intra-organisational conflicts.

Given the above-mentioned typical types of cultures, the most difficult for the leaders is to answer the question "which culture/DNA will take their organizations to where they want to be?". 

Respect Vietnam Ltd. Co with Weatwork. co platform developed by Ha & her associates in the past years could be able to help improve & transform the organization from a "Culture of Draconian Discipline" into a "Culture of Goal-Coherent Discipline" where disciplined people enjoy freedom, justice & especially the coherence with pre-set goals within the designed framework, instead of fear for discretionary actions, to self-correct their systems & jointly achieve the shared goals in a more effective way. 

With, "Non-discipline" DNA will align rules with organizational & departmental goals. To avoid "thousands of flowers bloom", and "anyone being leaders, talents", minimum fundamental rules are still needed to align individual responsibilities & enhance collaboration & teamwork. 


"The worst organizational DNA by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is "Everyone agrees but nothing changes". No matter if leaders' ideas are excellent, the lower layers of management only say yes without any real effort, resulting in less goal-driven work being done, & leaders being unaware of why their ideas are unable to be made into reality. I called this DNA in a Vietnamese idiom "hot above cold below". When leaders are unaware of their problems, they refuse to have them fixed, and their status quo will never be challenged.

"One of our most favorite models is "ONE PAGE OF CHANGE". This is a model I customized from Business Canvas & OKR (Objectives & Key Results), helping all departments reach high-level consensus in aligning departmental goals with organizational goals, the so-called "OKR consensus on Business Model Canvas". This team-aligning tool is inspired by Google OKR stories. However, instead of making dreams for Vietnamese companies to become another Google, we help them make their own DNA to achieve their own goals with the highest level of consensus & the lowest cost of disagreement" - Hà explains. 

"I think nothing is more motivating for individuals than their own goals. And nothing is more meaningful between individuals & their organizations than their shared goals & what decides their motives to reach those goals. We invest in massive Frameworks of Competence, bulky Standard Operational Procedures, contradicting Data Platforms, and ambitious, costly training programs, which are unaligned with the shared goals &  shared DNA, then, unfortunately, we could not be able to reach the highest level of resilience: "No matter how fast-changing the business environment is, the organization can quickly adapt & remains steadfastly aligned with a coherent mission/vision". The challenges from Covid19 make our partners realize this. More and more leaders & managers seek our support & our platforms to self-evaluate their own organizational DNA.

Ha & her associates have the ambition to take the platform Weatwork. co to the next level - the recognition by international communities. Why not a Vietnamese developer can bring an organizational transformation platform the outside of Vietnam? Some international investors already asked to buy out the platform but Ha & her associates would like to bring up this "child" further, creating more & better Vietnamese business mindset branding in the future. 

​Wish Ha & her team great success in this new challenge. 

​Nguyễn Linh


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