Move in the Right Direction with a Culture Champion

Organizational culture spirals inward and downward when left to itself.

Decline is the consequence of neglect and folly.

It’s never a fluke when people come to work with commitment and energy.

Building a positive culture is a series of intentional interventions.

Teams wander, projects fail and organizations flounder apart from champions. Every organization needs a culture champion.

Culture Champion:

If you aren’t working to improve culture, it’s drifting down hill.

Three marks of a culture champion:

#1. Belief.

Culture champions believe success is all about culture. Yes, you have to do the work. But there’s more.

The most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work.

#2. Dissatisfaction.

If everything smells like roses, something’s wrong with your nose. Choose a culture champion who smells rotten culture and hates it.

Complaints are the underbelly of positive desire.

Don’t soothe the complaints of champions. Explore their commitments. What would you like to do about that?

The difference between a complainer and a leader is passion to make things better.

Complaints inform commitments.

#3. Passion.

Culture champions own the vision of building great culture.

You might nudge a champion to get on the pony but you don’t have to pressure them to ride.

5 things culture champions do:

  1. Clarify and own success. “If we succeed, how will we be treating each other?”
  2. Shepherd culture forward. “How are we staying on target?”
  3. Monitor progress. “How are we moving toward our goals?”
  4. Shine a light on concerns, issues, and shortfalls. “What’s not working?”
  5. Fuel energy in others. Energy in champions gives energy to the team. “How can we be better?”

5 culture building activities:

#1. Appoint a Culture Champion.

#2. Create a culture calendar.* Schedule culture building activities. Do you believe in relationships? How are you intentionally strengthening connections?

#3. Begin meetings with culture building. Reflect on a specific organizational value, for example. “If we saw someone living this value, what would we see them doing?”

#4. Honor behaviors that reflect values. You probably measure and reward results. How are you honoring people who reflect non-financial values?

#5. Train leaders on how to model organizational values.

What factors contribute to building a positive culture.

*The idea of a culture calendar comes from Culture Wins.

Added resource: The Culture Code.

(I relax my 300 word limit on weekends.)