The Purpose of Culture
Posted by Kurt Earl in Public
Too often as Culture Coordinators we get caught up in trying to create a culture when we haven’t thought through what your culture is trying to accomplish. We spend too much time creating fun events and not enough time contemplating how those events are going to impact the way our athletes think about our program.
To help us understand the purpose of culture I’m going to be relying heavily on a metaphor that starts by considering the list below.
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple iOS
- Android OS
- Apple macOS
- Linux OS
30 years ago you might have struggled to know what the words in that list even mean, but these days we know exactly what they mean and we have our favorites. For example, why anyone would choose to use anything not made by Apple is beyond me. If you disagree, you’re wrong. Ha!
Just in case you’re the coach who has the young guys deal with all those new fangled technologies, the list above is a list of operating systems (OS). An OS in a computer manages all of the software and hardware on the computer and makes sure that all the programs running can access the computer’s central processing unit, memory, and storage. As you know, each OS does this a little differently and each OS provides a different look and feel to the user of the computer.
Running a web browser like Google Chrome is a different experience on an Apple OS vs a Microsoft OS vs a Google OS, right? And the difference is even more pronounced when you switch to the mobile version of any one of those operating systems.
Your program’s culture is the operating system of your program.
When an athlete in your program has really embraced your culture and understands exactly what it looks like to choose to do things that are in alignment with your culture he or she is operating in your culture’s operating system.
As the Culture Coordinator of your team you must design an OS that drives the behaviors called for by your strategies.
The purpose of culture is not to make people feel good and comfortable. The singular purpose of culture is to drive the behaviors called for by your strategy.Brian Kight
Your culture is the OS that your athletes use to process all that they are experiencing in the same way your computer uses its OS to process all that is happening in your computer.
That being said, a lot of coaches focus on creating a culture that merely modifies behaviors and that’s the biggest mistake you can make when designing your culture. Your culture should focus on transforming the heart of your athletes not on merely modifying their behavior.
So what type of OS/culture does your program have? I believe there are four types of cultures and I’ve created an assessment that helps you understand what type of OS your players are currently using so you can determine the best steps for teaching them your program’s OS.