By Mystie Johnson-Foote, MD, MBA
In our work to help leaders create practices and environments that are organizationally effective, we have learned time and time again that culture is the heart of the organization. And, what’s more, without leadership driving that culture, it cannot be successful.
Culture and team dynamics go hand in hand and are critical components of any successful organization. A positive team culture can help to create an environment where team members feel motivated, supported, and empowered to achieve their goals. And, when employees feel this way, they affect every aspect of the organization, which results in increased productivity and a healthy bottom line.
One thing we know about culture is that it is self-reinforcing, so the collective team will learn, ritualize, process, and develop social patterns around culture shifts. As a result, because culture is structurally based, we can de-construct certain elements of culture and recreate them in new ways to change behavior and support desired culture shifts. While this often doesn’t happen easily or quickly, it is possible if we approach it strategically and intentionally.
As we work through the elements needed to effectively intertwine team dynamics and culture, we will see an overlap. This is both an illustration of how team dynamics and culture work together and a roadmap that leaders can follow to help structure an environment that supports successful team dynamics and a thriving organizational culture.
Culture can be defined as the shared values, beliefs, and practices that shape the behavior of individuals within a group, team, or organization. A strong culture can help establish a sense of identity and purpose for the team and provide a valuable framework for decision-making and action.
Here are some questions to consider as we work to build or shift our current organizational culture:
- Has the organization clearly defined its values and does leadership model these values? Establishing and communicating core values that are shared by all team members can help create a sense of unity and purpose. These values should be communicated clearly and consistently and should guide decision-making at all levels of the organization.
- Are roles and outcomes clearly aligned? When teams and individuals understand their roles in the organization and how they fit into the culture and overall strategy, it increases their commitment to seeing the organization succeed. This helps with employee engagement and retention, two defining characteristics of successful organizations.
- Does the organization understand the strategy? Are they committed to it? To achieve the desired organizational culture, leaders must understand the strategy, clearly communicate the goals it supports, and model their commitment to it. This will help create the shift in employee behaviors and attitudes necessary to achieve the desired culture.
- Is there a level of transparency that promotes trust between leaders and teams? Open and honest communication is essential for building trust and fostering collaboration. Creating a safe space and encouraging team members to share their ideas and opinions enables opportunities for honest feedback and discussion. Ultimately, this establishes a prime environment for innovation.
- Does the talent management system encourage the right behaviors?
Recognizing the contributions of individual team members and celebrating successes can help foster a positive and supportive culture and build trust with leaders. Recognition can be as simple as verbal praise or can be a more formal recognition program.
Team dynamics refers to the way that team members interact with one another and can have a significant impact on team performance and morale. A strong team dynamic is characterized by mutual respect, trust, and a shared commitment to achieving common goals.
Here are some tips for building strong team dynamics:
- Hire the best team: Hiring staff with the necessary skills, diverse experiences, and the desire to collaborate with others will contribute to the team’s overall success. These traits all work together to build a team with the breadth and depth of skills and experiences to foster innovative and creative solutions.
- Clearly define the team’s goals: Ensure the team is aligned and working toward the same objectives by clarifying the goal and creating checkpoints along the way to ensure teams are staying on task.
- Build trust: Trust is essential for effective collaboration and communication. Foster an environment that allows team members to be open and honest with one another, and encourage relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.
- Enable open communication: Create an environment of open communication and encourage team members to share their ideas, feedback, and concerns freely.
- Promote collaboration: Encourage team members to work together and share their expertise. This can help to create a sense of shared ownership and responsibility and can lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.
- Recognize and reward success: Recognize and reward team members who demonstrate exceptional performance or make significant contributions to the team’s success.
- Address conflict and challenges: Address conflict and challenges quickly and effectively to prevent them from derailing the team’s progress and morale.
To become and remain successful, organizations must determine the most effective culture to support their needs and then determine how to manage and alter their culture effectively. And, while there is no one size fits all recipe to follow for producing the best company culture, there are ways to assess and shift culture in a very strategic way to position your company for the future. As our environments become more complex, understanding how your culture supports changing strategic needs is important. Equally important is knowing HOW to change your culture in a meaningful way to drive more desirable outcomes.
If you find you would benefit from an impartial perspective as you work through the elements of building, re-building or shifting your culture we would love to talk with you. Please contact us at admin@InnovativeConnectionsInc.com or call us at 970-279-3330 for a complimentary consultation to learn how we can optimize your process and your outcomes.
Our mission is to give voice and action to an emerging future. As a partner in your success, we would love to come alongside you to help you find your voice, see your vision, and imagine what the right action could be for you, your team, and your organization.