Culture is a Team Sport.

by Nov 10, 2019Uncategorized0 comments

Culture is best when leader led and people driven.

If there’s one thing that successful sporting teams can teach us, it’s that if the team is unable to build a positive internal culture, or spirit they will seldom be cohesive.

Even the best coaches in the world understand that they are essentially powerless once the whistle blows to start the match. They have to leave it up to the team to make the magic happen. Organisational culture is not much different. If a leadership team define an aspirational culture, they cannot make it happen on their own. Culture truly happens at team level.

Organisations that “democratise” their culture will have greater success in navigating the future of work.

Culture is everyone’s “job”

For too long we used outdated management practices like “define and align” to try get everyone on board with the culture of a company. Leadership would clearly state what was expected of people, and you had to fit in or F%$k off. This works perfectly in a command control culture and the truth is that many organisations still operate in this manner.

Thankfully we’ve learned that command cultures are fundamentally flawed if there is a desire to grow. Amongst the reasons for this is that command style leadership cultures take an expert, hierarchical stance and remain fixed on the mission in an almost dogamtic way. This would be fine if there was zero chance of any disruption to the status quo.

However, we no longer live in paradigm of certainty. We can no longer claim that the answers lie only in the hands of the few. To thrive in times of uncertainty or change, we need to unlock the potential of the whole team.

Developing a culture where the whole team is engaged, participating in the design and management of the culture, there is a greater opportunity for aligning people. Collaboration, support and care from management and leadership should replace control and command behaviours. Managers should try the following approach if they want to empower their people to take ownership of their organisational culture.

  • Survey teams to identify the core values that matter most.
  • Develop the behaviour code that underpins these values : co-create the culture playbook.
  • Adopt a ‘design thinking’ approach when developing culture elements that are supported by the core values (e.g. how we onboard people, how we manage performance, how we run meetings, how we socialise etc)
  • Review employee experience and treat them like consumers of culture.
  • Refine elements of culture based on employee feedback.

Employee experience is a reflection of your culture. Employee engagement is a result of your culture.