Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cultural Alignment Key to Organizational Success

Oregon and Ohio State are playing for the college football championship Monday (1/12/15) night.

Both teams exhibit a specific culture ... “the way we do things.”

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer put it this way in a news conference last week:
  • “From Amy, my assistant, to everybody associated with the facility person, everyone, this is the way we do it, really not a whole lot of conversation about it, and we have a culture here, too. So that's what I took, instead of saying, let's go take their culture, it's something I always believed, when you see teams fail, it's not because of bad players, it's not because of bad coaches; it's because of alignment issues. I'm convinced of that more than ever after being in this business for so long.”
Notice the emphasis on alignment.

Oregon, too, emphasizes team. It doesn’t matter what happens, team comes first. If someone gets injured, it’s “next man up.”

Culture, alignment and “next man up” works for associations too.

In a recent Associations Now piece, Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter ask Is Your Culture By Design or By Default? 

Here are a couple of key points from their article:
  • Organizational culture is often accidental, but the best culture is intentional. To be intentional about changing your culture, start by changing how people collaborate internally.
  • Start by figuring out what your culture really needs to be. Consider what kind of culture will truly drive your success. Then break down your internal collaboration processes and rebuild them with the clear image of your desired culture in mind. For example:
  • “If you value speed, then you will be much more disciplined about making basic data accessible to everyone so you don't have to spend time "reporting" it all the time.
  • If you value agility, then you'll create meetings that draw out information from all corners of the organization to spur new thinking and new ideas.
  • If you believe that strong relationships lead to better problem solving and increased performance, then you'll create some ground rules that support staff in raising and working through conflict quickly and effectively.
  • There are only two types of cultures: intentional and accidental. You can guess which one is more effective. Start to be intentional about your internal collaboration, and you'll start to create a stronger culture.”
What you will witness Monday night is two teams using intentional culture to battle for a national championship. That culture helped them to get in to the championship.

What is your association and its culture? Is it intentional or accidental?

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