Take a minute and look at your organization from the 30,000-foot level. You’ll see that you have a number of key functions that need to be managed well if you’re going to thrive. Some of them are infrastructure functions, like financial management. Some of them will be product- or program-related, and will be somewhat unique to your organization. Then you’ve got some kind of sales/revenue function (for nonprofits that might be around membership or fundraising). And, of course, all of these functions are interconnected and interdependent—links in a chain. If any one of these really breaks down, we’re all in trouble.

So throughout the course of any given year, you as a leader may be called upon to design and implement interventions to address one of these areas if it’s failing or bringing the organization down. That’s a big piece of the work of leadership—making sure the ship stays afloat by having your eye on the big picture and keeping the different components running smoothly by proactively diverting resources to where they’re needed most. Successful organizations know how to fix things in these different areas before they reach crisis level.

So what about culture? What if your culture has grown into a big problem—leading your best people to seek work elsewhere, causing people in different departments to waste resources by reinventing wheels right next to each other, or thwarting innovation because everyone knows failure isn’t tolerated at the top. If culture were dragging your organization down, would you know how to fix it?

I find most senior management teams have a high level of confidence when it comes to addressing big issues in areas like operations, programs, sales, etc.—but they don’t know what to do about culture.

This is a big problem.

Your culture is a link in that chain like any other, and if it’s bringing things down, you need to have the right tools in place to make corrections before things get out of hand. If you don’t, you’re taking an awfully big risk. We can help with that, of course.

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

Jamie Notter