mission

One No Brainer Way To Build Your Organization's Culture

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? 

Secret Sauce

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.

  1. 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? 

Azendoo Will Flatten Your Volunteer Organization [Tool Review]

Flatter is faster, further reaching and most effective in a growing organization.

We know that in order for this organization to grow we need more people. We need more people owning the vision and moving us forward. As a leader this is invigorating and frightening. We want to climb the next hill, but the more we people involve the more "chefs we have in the kitchen". We fear that leaders will start off misaligned and eventually go rogue. We fear that eventually all we will be doing is fixing other people's mistakes and putting out fires. Not very exciting for you and me. Not really what we signed up for.

So here is the trick to going faster, further and being most effective when your organization is growing: flatness.

The secret to flatness is information and boundaries. As you've probably already experienced, one of the difficulties in running a volunteer organization is the balance between control and speed. We feel responsible for excellence in our organizations but how do we accomplish that promptly and appropriately? Over the last number of months I've been experimenting with a tool to help flatten our volunteer organization structure and it's working.  It's called Azendoo (link).

Azendoo

Azendoo

Azendoo groups all your teamwork in one place so that you can plan, share and get organized, together.

 

 

 

Azendoo has proven to be a fantastic tool for sharing information and engaging our volunteer teams. We've put information in the hands of high capacity volunteers so that they can make the best decision on the ground. There is one essential ingredient necessary when you push decision making to the lowest possible level in your organization. You've got to be absolutely sure you are playing from the same playbook. 

 

Azendoo also won Evernote's Best Multi-Platform App 

 

 

In Patrick Lencioni's book "The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business" [Link], he mentions 6 questions a team must answer:
  1. Why do we exist?

  2. How do we behave?

  3. What do we do?

  4. How will we succeed?

  5. What is most important, right now?

  6. Who must do what?

All 6 questions are important, but most important to what we are trying to accomplish is number 5. As a leader, you need to be able to point back to what is most important right now. In fact, as you manage a team, your most important job is to engage and energize you team to accomplish what's most important right now. 

Give you team the information they need to be the fastest, furthest reaching, most efficient team they can be. Then, get out of the way...

To get you started, I've put together a list of 5 tips to getting the most out Azendoo. You can download it for free below.