Since beginning his coaching career almost 14 years ago, Basketball Queensland’s North State Performance Manager – Brady Walmsley has coached several local and state teams. He has decided to take this change in career, to share some of help knowledge about Culture. How it can affect your team and how you – as a coach, can change your team’s culture.
Culture…. Phrases like ‘accountability, selflessness and empowerment’ are used in relation to culture … There are an exorbitant number of leadership books on culture…. Everyone always talks about building a successful culture and how important culture is in team environments…. But what does that mean and how does it look?
I have identified some key areas of focus that will give you the best chance of building a culture of productivity inside your team environment. These ideas are as relevant to team coaching as they are to corporate management. The six steps listed below will help you develop a culture of ‘getting things done’.
- Be outcome focused – For any team to be successful, they require a clearly defined direction. As the leader of the team, it is your responsibility to identify the outcome you wish to achieve and to ensure your team are working towards that outcome every day. When teams lose direction, they lose focus and motivation. It’s hard to imagine too many teams have had success without being highly focused and motivated. As the leader, you need to decide what ‘success’ will look like and what you are trying to achieve – What is the point of what we are doing? It is then your responsibility to ensure you are consistently guiding your team members in that direction. Have the end in mind and be outcome focused!
- Set and uphold your standards and expectations – Most coaches and managers are knowledgeable enough to set standards and expectations with their teams at the beginning of a cycle. We have all read a leadership book that tells us that much. However, the greatest point of different between good and great is the ability to uphold those standards and expectations. There is no point having a planning meeting around behavioural expectations if you are not going to uphold those standards and expectations when they are breached. Every time a member of your team deviates from those standards and expectations, your culture loses credibility. You don’t have to be a ruthless dictator to ask for accountability from your team members. That is one of the primary responsibilities of the leader.
- Simplify the message – One of the ultimate dangers in this type of space is that the message becomes diluted and ineffective. As intelligent human beings, we often overcomplicate messages in an attempt to prove how much we know. When in fact, the greatest leaders in the world have an incredible ability to take something complex and make it seem simple. It’s not what you know, it’s what they understand! Our responsibility as leaders is to find ways to ensure our team members understand the overarching message of our team environment. That’s communication! Create a key group of indicators and allow those to guide your message.
- Develop trust and truthfulness – Leaders should develop team environments that promote truthfulness and generate trust. Having open and honest dialogue with your team is essential as you are working to develop a productive team culture. Cultivating an environment of trust and truthfulness will allow your team members to openly contribute their views and opinions, whilst being more receptive when you share yours. Truthfulness will allow you to navigate your way through conflict, using conflict as a tool to strengthen relationships on the backend. Having authentic personal interactions with your team members on a regular basis will allow you to build the types of relationships that are key to producing committed team members. Be consistent in your dealings with team members and always lead by example.
- Review the results – We are all welcoming of the review process when we have performed well. In fact, we probably encourage the review process when we have performed well. Whilst that is the case, we are generally less interested in reviewing performances we expect to receive negative reviews. You always gain more through the constructive review process, making it paramount for creating a growth mindset within your team environment. You can always be better and that constant pursuit of improvement is something that should be groomed through regularly reviewing your results and performances. This is another way of upholding your standards and expectations.
- Enjoy the experience – Everyone performs better in environments which are enjoyable and positive. Hard work and enjoyment can co-exist. In fact, they need to co- exist if you are expecting to attain any level of success. You would have to be remarkably talented to produce good results at something you dislike doing or don’t enjoy being involved with. The single greatest challenge of a leader is to create an environment that demands hard work and accountability, whilst promoting an enjoyable experience. Success requires both and is difficult to attain without either. Be an experience enhancer!
There is no quick fix to implementing a culture that will ensure sustained success. It takes time, effort and consistency. Whilst that is the case, we are confident that these six steps will guide you on your path to developing the type of culture you can be proud of.
If you would like to discuss this topic further or have questions that you want to be answered, feel free to contact Brady Walmsley at [email protected]