DOES the Australian cricket team have a good culture? And if not, why? Who owns it? And how do they get it back?

Maybe you could ask the same questions of your favourite footy team. Or banking institution.
Certainly, the Hayne Royal Commission has. In recent times, throwing Australia’s Big Four beneath that same blowtorch which recently brought down cricket’s tampering three – Dave Warner, Steve Smith and Cam Bancroft.

And they aren’t alone. Culture, see, doesn’t discriminate. Nor can anyone do without it. NRL coaches. Senior executives. Test cricketers. Board members.

Everyone in your team or business feels the impact of culture – both positive and negative – which is why the art of getting it right cannot be left to chance. This is particularly important for the club industry that operates in the fiercely competitive hospitality and gaming arena where good club culture provides a significant competitive advantage.

As the heart of every local community, registered clubs play a significant role in providing a hub for local organisations, charities, sporting groups and affiliated clubs. Throw in too, those thousands of members and guests entering your front doors every week. All of them trusting that your club – your culture – will prove diligent, law abiding and trustworthy while also providing a safe, friendly and enjoyable community-centred atmosphere. None of which is created easily. Or immediately. In fact, clubs rely heavily on staff to, not only deliver service excellence, but continually surprise and delight members and guests with new opportunities.

The most successful and profitable clubs – yes, culture drives profitability – are now setting this benchmark by ensuring they attract the elite employees from within their communities and then foster that talent throughout the business. And it starts with the leadership team.

Successful clubs not only attract great leaders but grow leaders internally. This ensures that everyone from the Board of Directors, CEO and Senior Executive to the Floor Supervisor and junior club staff are on-board with the culture and heading in a common direction articulated by their vision, mission and values.

Of course, this all makes sense provided you understand the essence of culture. Not only what makes a great culture, but how to create it within your organisation. Then make it sustainable.
Unfortunately, many clubs, directors and leadership teams have not been exposed to this language or the vast benefits of creating a positive business culture. This has to change.

Well before implementing changes to enhance your culture, or even determining what changes need making, the first step is measure your clubs current culture.
Like with any opportunity, it is vital to determine your current reality before deciding on your desired future state. Think taking a photograph of your climate and how it feels to work as an employee of your club today.

To assist in this, ClubsNSW is partnering with Human Synergistics to support clubs in examining and measuring culture in their respective businesses. The Human Synergistics survey allows organisations to measure the current culture in a non-biased, anonymous and systematic approach. The results provide the Board of Directors and senior leadership team with clarity of the current culture and insights into “how it feels for staff on a daily basis” to work within the organisation. This measurement creates the benchmark to start the clubs culture journey.

Our upcoming Club Directors Institute seminars – hosted throughout NSW in July and August 2018 – will have a session hosted by Grace Curve Consulting analyst Simon Walshaw.
The session will focus on the benefits of measuring your club’s current culture and, in addition, provide details and examples of how improvements in the culture will impact positively on the revenue and profitability of your business. It is a session designed for every club, no matter where you are placed on your cultural journey. And it starts with taking a closer look at the culture of your boardroom. Is the boardroom prepared to invest in greater business? Is there a culture of openness, learning and progression?

Like leadership, culture starts from the top. And if not part of your strategy, well, it gets left to chance. High performing teams can still be undermined by poor culture. Gone are the days where board meetings focused on beer prices as top item on the agenda.

The modern expectation on boards is to challenge the status quo, avoid group-think and educate ourselves on industry trends, business insights and strategy to gain competitive advantage.

So is it time to make culture your number one agenda item? Is it time you attend the CDI Seminar and challenge your thinking around this most crucial topic?

After all, who safeguards the culture if not you?


An article designed and published in the Club Directors Institute Members Magazine July 2018


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