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This mini-case study is part of our Culture-in-Action Series.

If culture is “the human condition at work” then it is necessary to understand what the individual in organizations requires of the organization and its culture.

People bring more to a job than their experience, expertise, talent and potential. They bring “who they have been, who they are and who they will be”. All individuals, regardless of status or station within an organization have basic needs and wants from the culture of their organization. They need and want;

-to truly “belong” and not simply “fit in”

-to be a contributing member of a worthy mission

-to know how who they are and what they do contributes to the good of the whole

-to feel safe and secure within their environment

-to have reasonable control over how they do their work

-to feel that rewards and reward systems are fair and equitable

-to work for leaders who are fair, honest, compassionate and are willing to give grace when mistakes are made

-to follow worthy leaders

-to be a part of an organization that holds all accountable, justly

-to feel they can be heard without retribution

-to be “heard” as a valued, contributing member of the organization.

-to have one’s competency recognized and appreciated

Keystone Culture Group Case Vignette:

Winning in the NFL requires a formal and productive culture of “the offensive huddle”. The huddle is the most important part of the game plan execution. Without a culture that is respectful of the human condition, as described above, teams don’t win. For the Indianapolis Colts, the huddle was practiced for seven minutes at the beginning of every practice session. Why? It was the centerpiece of the game plan. There was a “culture of the huddle”. The components of that culture of the huddle were:

-all positions are important and accountable for every play

-plays take no longer than 4.6 seconds from start to finish, on average, every player must know what he and 10 other players will be doing in the 4.6 seconds

-every player, for every play, is accountable for the performance of the play and the welfare of his team members during the play

-all players respect the quarterback with their attention and face-to-face contact to understand the play and the signals

-all players are accountable for understanding all potential variations of play calling and changes; there are no excuses or explanations for not knowing

-if mistakes are made by one or more on a play, there is a lesson learned, the play is forgotten and you move forward with the next

-the quarterback sees events unfold during a play that others won’t. His decision-making is respected.

-players show up knowing the whole of the game plan and their roles. There are no questions in the huddle. The time for questions is during the practice session. Questions during practice are invited and respected. There are no foolish questions during practice. There is no hierarchy when it comes to questions asked during practice.

With a championship NFL team, culture is defined and practiced because it is the strongest predictor of a winning record.

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