As an employee or teammate, you will often hear the term culture as it relates to your company or your organization. As a coach, I hear it as it relates to my sports programs. But the question remains what does this mean? How do you measure culture, what is a good culture or a bad culture? This will be the first entry in a series that I will try to discuss building a winning culture wherever you are, and whatever team you’re on.
It is easy to measure wins, losses, income, expenditures, goals for, and goals against, but it is difficult to quantify culture. However, when you enter a locker room, or an office, you can feel if an organization has a good culture. You can recognize it when you talk to a companies’ employees, or a team’s athletes. It is readily identifiable when you speak to an organization’s leaders or a sports team’s head coach. There is something about people who are part of a great culture. They act different, they are proud of their organization, and they lead by example.
There are multiple philosophies on how to build a winning culture in your organization and no one approach is a one size fits all application. However, there are several key dynamics to lead to a positive, winning culture, and a positive experience for your athletes or your employees.
Step 1: Choose the Person over the Path
When it comes to building a positive culture, it is important to emphasis your athletes or employees first. Remember that not only are the right people the organizations greatest assets, they need be serving in the right roles. It is the old adage of, “Get the right people on the bus, get the right people in the right seats on the bus, then decide which direction the bus is heading.” Far too often we set the end goal first without first getting the right people to fill the right roles. That is what is key, have the people in the right roles to be most productive. It is helpful to ask your employees, or your athletes, what they want out of their experience, what do they feel they are good at, where do they think they will be most successful?
It is imperative to hire the right people, or recruit the right athletes and coaches, have them serve proper roles, and then decide what the best path toward greatness is. In the book I recommended the other day, Good to Great, the great companies put a great deal of emphasis on the right personal qualities when hiring people, over where their previous employment was, or what their roles were at their previous jobs. A companies’ systems are learnable skills, the same is true for an athletic teams’ systems of play. Recruit the best people that fit the culture you want then decide what path to take toward success. Get the right people first.
Keep an eye out next week for Part 2 of our Building Culture series.
~Sean Hogan has coached hockey at the international and collegiate levels for over ten years. He has spoken at numerous events about culture building, goal setting and healthy lifestyles. He holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Recreation and Sports Science with an emphasis on Coaching Education from OHIO University.