“Culture”. It’s a reasonably in vogue word in sporting circles, because apparently all teams are defined by it. In essence this is true, but the key to implementing culture is to ensure that it is more than hollow words and catch phrases.
In my opinion the most important element of culture is who defines it. It is nothing more than a poster to walk past if the entire club are not involved in its development.
So, how do you do it?
There are three steps in my opinion to defining your culture. The first is to identify and ask is “Where are we?”. This is where the club and its members feel they currently are, both positive and negative.
The next step is “Where are we going?”. This is to define what the club wants to achieve, on and off field.
The last but most important step is “How are we going to get there?”. This is to define how the club will proceed to being what it wants to be, or how it will evolve.
What these discussions will bring out (and you can do them any way you like, but small group discussions work best) key words or phrases you can draw out, which will become your values, which will in turn define your culture. You will have heaps of different words and phrases, so something that has worked for me is getting players to vote on what means the most to them.
If you can come out with a maximum of 5-6 key words or phrases (many will be similar you can mould together), or a minimum of 3, you are flying and now it’s all about actions, putting these into place in everything you do. They drive discipline issues, game plans, social events and functions… The lot.
All of this means nothing unless it is actionable in all elements of the club, so don’t do this or put it in place unless you can commit to it 100% in everything the club does.
One last thing to leave you with. This is a handy little piece of advice when it comes to culture and performance… Which of these three do you think is the best (upper case meaning the most important)?
VALUE + PERFORMANCE
VALUE + performance
value + PERFORMANCE
Culture isn’t defined by wins and losses. It is defined by VALUES. You can’t have performance without strong values, no matter how you cut it. From experience, strong VALUES will mean, in time, strong PERFORMANCES. If you answered 1, then you are on the right track!
Another really important element of culture is expectations, which we will cover in another post soon. Stay tuned…!