Creating Organizational Culture

imagesI was recently reading an article in Inc. Magazine (INC) where Will Dean talks about how to bring new team members into your organizational culture.  The focus of his short article is using the acronym RITA:

– Recruit People:  You need to bring in the best people possible.  Take your time, don’t settle, know what you’re looking for.

– Induct People:  This is a process communicating what your organizational culture is.  This is done in conversations with others, it’s done by communicating values, and it’s a process.

– Train People:  You need to teach and train people, helping them understand what is expected of them and what you value.

– Assess People:  You need to evaluate whether people “get” the culture or not.  If they don’t, you need to do something about it.

Dean says, “It’s far easier to keep the right culture on track than get the wrong one back on track.”

I remember of season of leadership where we had a team of people who had all adopted the same “culture”.  We called it our “dream team season”.  We experienced great joy in working together, we had high levels of trust and we experienced some incredible results and growth.  It was a very unique time for our team, but we worked really hard at creating culture and then in maintaining it.

You might be asking, “How do I create CULTURE?”

This is a great question.

Every team and every organization has a unique “culture”.  As the leader, you simply need to determine if it’s the culture you are hoping for.  Example:  A team that has a low-level of trust breeds distrust, and this affects everything that is done. The team functions as a group of individuals that each focus on what they have been assigned to do.   There is very limited collaboration, support and low energy.  This is CULTURE.   If this is perpetuated, others will recognize your team as having this culture.  You’ll lose good people.  You’ll have a hard time recruiting people, and your mission & vision will be impacted.   This is just one example, and in this case, as the leader, you MUST focus on building the level of trust within the team.  You can change the culture by identifying it and addressing it.

John Keyser shares 3 ways to create a winning organizational culture:

#1)  Treat people like teammates rather than employees.

Don’t focus only on what your teammates can do for you.  Nurture a relationship.  Get to know them on a personal level.

#2)  Create opportunities for conversations.

Invite people to be a part of the conversation instead of simply telling them what you are going to do.

#3)  Pay close attention.

Little things mean a lot:  thanking people for their hard work, looking them in the eye, remember their names.  Show that you genuinely care about them.

Culture within an organization requires attention.  Make sure that new people understand it, and be sure to help your team know the value of it.


Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: Write directly to Russ at: twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Leadership Community


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