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Now is the time, more than ever, when we have to come together and believe in chosen culture.
I never understood the power of culture until I was blessed to be a part of a Super Bowl Championship team with the Indianapolis Colts. It’s there I had the opportunity to learn from Hall of Fame players like Peyton Manning and my Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy that culture can be chosen. Culture doesn’t have to be subjective, it can become an objective tool that directly impacts the behaviors of your team members, resulting in ultimate success.
Today we’re faced with the subjective nature of culture all around us. If you were to go through an entire team and ask each individual to define culture, you probably would learn that everybody views it differently. In that is the opportunity for us as leaders to choose a culture that can be a belief system practiced by the entire team. But in order to do that, we have to agree on what culture is.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible people. One was Dr. Dan Zismer, a renowned social psychologist. And we had the opportunity to go into discovery about realizing the foundation of culture. And that is people. That is the human condition. And every single day, people walk into their lives and into their businesses with an intrinsic belief system. And that’s the belief system that creates culture.
So using that idea, let me share with you how I define culture.
“Culture is the result of a practiced and shared belief system that inspires the behaviors of people and businesses to pursue a mission and vision with unity and purpose.”
Everything we do is connected to what we believe and what we believe is directly connected to how we behave.
Stepping into that Super Bowl championship locker room, I learned three incredible truths about culture:
1) Culture is the human condition at work.
Culture is the embodiment of the people that make up the team. And within that there is a great opportunity as leaders to choose a culture that has a waterfall effect over the human condition. If you can bring everybody together, right? It was Coach Dungy’s biggest mission – “How do I create a family out of 53 of the most diverse individuals in the world?” And that’s exactly what he did.
2) Culture is the leader’s choice.
As leaders, you have to take the responsibility upon your shoulders to choose culture, to make it objective, because when you draw that line in the sand, you’re going to give people an opportunity to come into a structured environment that will help them achieve their greatest potential and their greatest success, directly connected to their behaviors.
3) You will have a culture by design or default.
Why not choose it? Take the opportunity to learn that culture is a choice. Culture can be decided, designed, deployed and directed throughout an organization. And that’s exactly what happened in Indianapolis. Coach Dungy tells the story of coming to Indianapolis, and part of that – from top down, from our owner Jim Irsay, down – was that he required everybody to believe in a culture that he called “The Colts Way.” And the result was the ultimate success for an NFL football team – to win a Super Bowl championship.
So come with me on this exciting journey where we’re going to dive into five more powerful principles directly connected to the Super Bowl championship culture in Indianapolis. I want to give you a unique lens into what chosen culture looks like and how it was practiced. Now is the time, more than ever, for us to come together and believe in the power of chosen culture.
– Ben Utecht
Super Bowl XLI Champion
Culture & Leadership Speaker