Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Characteristics of A Winning Culture

What difference does culture make in an organization?


Organizational culture is defined as: the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.

The effects of culture on an organization's success or failure cannot be over stated. Here are two examples:

In 1958, the Green Bay Packers had 1 victory, 10 losses, and 1 tie. Needless to say, the season was a complete failure. At the end of that season, Green Bay fired their coach and hired somebody who had never been a Pro Football Head Coach, Vince Lombardi. When Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay, he was determined to make the organization into a winning organization. This transformation started with and ended with changing the culture of the Green Bay Packers. Here are the things Coach Lombardi did:

  • He got rid of poor performing players and brought in better performing players.
  • He instilled in his players a winning attitude.
  • He encouraged the players to work hard and showed them the amazing results that come from hard work.
  • He helped his players have better focus in accomplishing their goals.
  • He found within the team natural leaders and put them in place where they could have the most influence.
Over the next 9 years, the Green Bay Packers won 5 NFL Championships and 2 Super Bowls. It is clear, that the turnaround of the Green Bay Packer culture was a complete success. The Green Bay Packer organization now had a winning culture.

In a more recent example, the Denver Broncos recently won the Super Bowl. How did this happen? Only five years earlier, the Denver Broncos had a record of 4 wins and 12 losses. They had a loosing culture within their organization. After that terrible season ended, John Elway was hired as the Vice President of Operations. During Elway's earlier days as the Bronco's Quarterback and leader, he was part of a winning culture. Elway and the Broncos went to five Super Bowls and won two of those five. He was part of a winning organization. His task now was to bring back the winning culture to the Denver Broncos. Here are the things John Elway did:

  • He got rid of poor performing players and brought in better performing players.
  • He instilled in his organization an aggressive and physical style of play and thus improving the teams attitude.
  • He encouraged the players to work hard and showed them the amazing results that come from hard work.
  • He helped his team have better focus in accomplishing their goals.
  • He found natural leaders and put them in place where they could have the most influence.
The similarities between Green Bay's cultural turnaround and Denver's is consistent with the methods an organization can use in instilling a winning culture within itself. Here are the five characteristics of a winning culture:

  1. High Quality Employees - Low performing employees who are not dedicated to the success of an organization, should not be a part of it. In order to improve the quality of employees, it is important to find the ones that have the right skill set, talent, knowledge, work ethic, and attitude. This type of employee will have a positive effect on others around them.
  2. Attitude -  It is important for employees to have a winning attitude. When employees are positive and truly believe in what they are doing, it will show in their quality of work and interactions.
  3. Work Ethic - Employers need to encourage and reward hard work through promotions and other incentives. If an organization wants its employees to work hard, then it needs to demonstrate the results of hard work and the great results that come from it.
  4. Focus - Having employees coming to work truly focused on the goals of the organization and what they need to do in order to accomplish those goals is a wonderful and unique thing to have. Look for and promote those employees. Employees that only come to work to "punch-in and punch-out" have no place in a winning culture.
  5. Leadership - The employees that are put into leadership positions, should embody the qualities that the organization is looking to develop within its culture. This is a critical component of developing a winning culture. It is the leaders within the organization that help drive and mold the desired culture.
Does the culture of an organization make a difference? Yes, it is the biggest determining factor between success and failure. Does the culture of your organization embody the characteristics of a winning culture? If not, start making the necessary changes to help your organization have a winning culture!



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