The article entitled “Winning Teams- Winning Cultures” is a must read for all current and future leaders. The reading addresses one of the most important and deciding factors in the success or failure of an organization- culture. Essentially, culture is the set of expectations and social norms produced by the interactions and mentalities of leaders and subordinates within an organization. The article claims that poor culture alone can prevent the implementation of change, succesful collaboration between organizations, as well as basic performance and improvement. Culture is the human part of operations. Examples of poor, performance-inhibiting cultural attributes are internal competition, bureaucratic tendencies, lack of accountability, trust issues, boss-driven leadership, and passive-aggressiveness. These cultural barriers, among others, posses the ability to decimate the most powerful and promising of initiatives. The article goes on to give several examples of companies that failed in different areas based on cultural shortcomings.
One of the most important points made by the article is that a positive, progressive, and stimulating culture must begin with the leaders. The leaders are to set the example for how the culture should be within the organization. Often times, leaders have the enthusiasm and ingenuity to take positions and come up with ideas, but lack the vision to recognize that all their efforts will be wasted if they are not supported by a solid culture of employees, members, or subordinates. Thus, many promising leaders are broken by positions and leave companies because they could not handle the cultural pressures and difficulties. Leaders are charged with the responsibility to live in a way that reflects the desired culture of their organzation.
The other strong point made by the article is the need for culture to begin with individuals, so that they may eventually work together to create a social fabric that will enhance the growth and progress of the company or entity. Thus, a culture must be established that encourages personal accountability and boldness so that individuals may stand up for their beliefs and oppose poor decisions, without resorting to blaming. A proper culture allows respect, trust, responsibility, and growth to flourish, so that individuals may perform at their best, thus allowing the organization to reach unprecedented levels of synergy and performance. By establishing a bottom-up culture, decision-making is made easier, flexibility is increased, interpersonal skills thrive, and a positive environment exists. The positive culture allows individuals to navigate the various emotions of the mood elevator- a model of positive and negative feelings that affect individual behavior.
In conclusion, leaders must recognize that their vision for an organization must be adopted and internalized by all those that they lead, and this begins by establishing a culture that is well-suited for launching the organization towards success.