The term culture is thrown around quite a bit in regards to sports team. It is often used when describing successful organizations as well. A great organization might be said to have a great culture, where people were pushing to become great. People may blame a poor culture for a failing organization’s woes. 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?
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. This series has focused on some tips to create a winning culture in your position in the office.
Step 4: Keep Pushing, but Recognize the Small Successes
As a coach I have always felt that recruiting the right employees is similar to recruiting the right athletes. Bringing co-workers to your organization that have an inner desire to be great is the first step to creating a great culture. Interview potential applicants as to what their goals are, what they want out of their experience with your organization. Then follow up with their past employers and find out if they have the drive you want on your team. We call past coaches to find out if we can push the athlete, if we can push them toward greatness. Find people that can be pushed to the brink of failure, but have the mental fortitude to come back and push to be great. The most successful organizations, often times have people that can be pushed and want to be pushed, or push themselves to failure. There’s a great book on this very subject called, The Talent Code. A particular line always stuck out to me. “The people inside the talent hotbeds are engaged in an activity that seems, on the face of it, strange and surprising. They are seeking out the slippery hills. They are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better.” Some of the best in the world in their fields, push themselves to failure to get better at their skill.
It is also important that once any measurable success is obtained, to emphasize that success, celebrate that success and point to the process. Make sure you recognize those that are reaching improvement. Make sure you celebrate yourself when you make improvements. Any athlete, or any employee, must feel important, and must feel as a contributor to the overall success of the team, and it is the job of a great leader to recognize that.
~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.