Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

I saw this quote on twitter a couple of days ago and it struck a chord with me. Culture does indeed eat strategy for breakfast provided the team culture is healthy, positive and strong.

Every team has a culture.

It is most unfortunate that many coaches do not recognize the importance or full impact a team's culture has on its performance. The culture of a team defines who the team is and permeates every aspect of the program.  The culture is the standards the team adheres to, its attitude and commitment level. The culture is found in the teams degree of competitiveness and resiliency.  As such the team culture needs to be defined and nurtured on a continuous basis. It is a process.

The process begins by honestly and accurately evaluating where your team culture currently stands. The next step is to set a goal for where you want your culture to be.  Finally, establish a plan that will take you to there. 

Here's a secret, your captains must embody the team culture you seek to establish.  Contrary or negative leadership can destroy team culture before it has a chance to blossom.  It can be better to purge contrary or negative leadership from the roster than attempting to bring such into the fold... unless of course you prefer a corrosive, self destructive culture to be representative of your team.

When I take over a program or a team the first thing I do is stress timeliness and punctuality. The next thing is to make it mandatory to dress appropriately.  All required equipment will be worn. Standards for what is considered appropriate training attire will be established and this always includes having shirts tucked into the waist band of shorts. From here we can begin establishing standards for training and playing the game. It is a daily process that must be nurtured and cared for in order to take root, grow and blossom.  And deviation, any sign of weakness in your steadfast adherence to the goal for the teams culture can set things back to square one.

In short, establishing a winning team culture is built around truth, trust and belief in one another. Winning team cultures see players playing for one another. The team, is greater than any individual. No one is irreplaceable. Resiliency is found in a next man up attitude.  Expectations are for positions on the field and for the individuals in their comportment always.

It's not always the most talented team that wins the match, but it is rarely the team with the best culture that loses a match.

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