Contributed by Wes Escondo, Campus Director Globe University – Eau Claire
As individuals we often make decisions based on a personal morale code. However, working alongside teammates, peers and co-workers requires a common ground that allows each personal code to contribute towards a common goal. Culture serves as a driving element to common ground and creates an atmosphere of achievement in an organization or business.
Culture is often described as behaviors and beliefs of a specified group, yet culture originates in the perception of what behaviors and beliefs are supportive or detrimental to that group. It is this calibration of acceptable and not acceptable that serves as the foundation for teamwork.
3 steps to creating a culture of achievement include:
- Create and Reinforce Expectations. The efforts of teammates are naturally enhanced when there is less guesswork as to what roles and expectations exist within the team. While some team members may place greater value in specific skills or actions, others place more value in the team dynamic. There is a place for both groups in cultural establishment when there is a created correlation between all strengths of the team. When creating expectations, they must be obtainable through the achievement of both individual accomplishment and group think. In essence, the only way to win is in the old adage of “One for All and All for One.”
- Over-Communicate. Negative outcomes or poor performance rarely come from cultures that communicate too often. Rather, the lack of communication often contributes to the shortcomings of a team. A productive culture is one where members communicate well and communicate often to support the work of other members in the team. Some of the most effective organizations build a culture where multiple touch points are completely normal. Colgate-Palmolive CEO, Ian Cook, invites employees at all levels to weekly roundtables to ensure company communication.
- Expect All Members to Walk the Walk. Accountability is perhaps the most difficult element of cultural development. Simply because culture is an evolving concept. A culture that breeds efficiency and effectiveness changes often to meet goals that are never set in stone. The best checks and balances come from invested teammates who are expected to execute teamwork best practices, not a standard operating procedure manual. In the era of “return on investment” and effectiveness planning, equal attention must be paid to forming the driving force behind all group effort: culture. We all grew up hearing that two heads are better than one. Culture dictates if your group will ever get to three or four heads.