Culture is one of those ambiguous words we throw our organization. As leaders we have a sense of what we want it to be. We want a healthy culture. We want our staff and volunteers to consider our place a great place to work. But if a healthy culture is this secret sauce, how do we make sure everyone in our organization knows the recipe?
Every team is different, every organization is more so. What worked at one doesn’t always work at the next. That means any time I’ve joined a new team I’ve had to spend some time observing. How does this team make decision? What do they say is most important? What’s actually most important?
Understanding how the new team works is critical to being able to survive and then thrive in the new environment.
So if that’s what it means to join a team, what does that mean for you as a team and/or organizational leader?
It means that you’re rules of engagement have to be crystal clear.
Most organizations now days have some form of a document that lists it’s mission, vision and values. There have been thousands of books and articles written on the importance of outlining these steering statements. And they're right. They are incredibly important. It’s even more important then that your organization is living out these statements.
Enter, the no brainer way to build your organization's culture.
- Celebrate when people are living it out your mission, vision and values.
Share their actions as crystal clear, real life examples of what it means to live out your organizational values. Have a party, give out awards. Show the rest of your organization the people and situations that exemplify who you are as an organization. These steering statements can’t just be words in a document some where. These are the things we value, the criteria by which we make decisions, the standard we hold each other to.
Find a way to celebrate the examples you have. Look for opportunities to share real life stories that highlight these values (try a team email, see "How To Inform & Inspire Your Volunteer Team”). Have parties, share these examples before meetings or gatherings. Look for every opportunity to share to positive realization of what your organization says is most important.
Without them being lived out, your mission, vision and values are just words on a page. And that’s not benefiting anyone.
Question of the day: Are your mission, vision, values an accurate recipe for the culture you are trying to create?