Shaping Culture to Get Buy In

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Why I think the Cubs won the World Series

In a word, culture. From any vantage point, they exude a culture with a common vision, an emphasis on continuous improvement with attention to detail, respect on all levels, and fun.  I have frequently seen teams win national championships within a couple years of implementing the Functional Movement System. Why is that? Am I biased and naive enough to think that teams who have players who perform better on the overhead deep squat are destined for a title victory?  By no means!  I think it is the result of being purposeful in building a culture that repeatedly does the simple, little things well. This type of success has roots in embracing a culture of communication and accountability. How does this start?

In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth spends a day with the Seattle Seahawks to try to understand their culture after back to back Super Bowl appearances. The first thing she notes is Head Coach Pete Carroll’s emphasis on “Starting with Why.” (See my previous post on creating your Why.)

Check out this video: Sam Ramsden, Head Athletic Trainer, Seattle Seahawks

“Once you have done the work to create that clear vision, it is the discipline and effort to maintain that vision that can make it all come true.” Pete Carroll.

An article on Seahawks.com illuminates the importance of both the culture and a compelling vision (why statement) for your screening efforts. Take a look at how they describe implementing the Functional Movement System.

“The reasons the Seahawks are incorporating these tests to launch their offseason program starts at the top with general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.
This is a vision that John and Pete have for this organization,” said Ramsden, who was the Seahawks’ head trainer for eight years and an associate trainer for five years before stepping into his new role. “They’ve put me into a position to try to bring it to life.”

But once that is developed, how do you create the culture you want that accomplishes the vision?

1. Talk about your vision — constantly.

Every team member should be able to articulate the vision. Decisions are made in accord with the vision. Motivation is drawn from the vision. Team members are held accountable to the vision. This mission must be communicated daily. Every question is an opportunity to respond in terms that underscore and propel you toward the mission.  

2. The devil is in the details.

“It is not one thing, it is a million things. It’s a million details.  

It is countless small things, each is doable.” Pete Carroll

Accountability is key. There is truth in the adage, “What gets measured, gets done.” Everyone wants to know what winning looks like in their particular job. In the realm of injury prevention and performance enhancement, baseline screening and re-testing is key. The reports that are shared from re-testing foster communication – communication about progress toward the vision. This helps continue the culture change and is a catalyst for buy in.

3. Communicate to foster buy in.

Accountability is important, but without a supportive culture it can lead to individualism as well as the temptation to  “cook the books”. If I am going to be held accountable for improving someone’s movement screen score, I might be tempted to fudge that score in order to look better. This is where vulnerability and mutual support are crucial. Everyone “has each other’s back” has to be the attitude. An emphasis must be made on helping one another identify and removing resistance to implementation along the way.  A  ‘no blame’ policy assists in navigating through hurdles. When communication or accountability breaks down for any portion of the organization, even if a single person fails to act in the direction of the vision, it could thwart the efforts of the whole group.

So why do teams tend to win after implementing the Functional Movement System? I believe it is the result of  their commitment to communication and accountability, and a willingness to start with the little things to pursue a common vision. This communication,  accountability, and adherence to the vision permeates the culture and spills over into every area. It makes sense that teams that have created a culture embodying these values would be inclined to adopt a comprehensive  system for injury prevention.  In my next post, we will continue to talk about developing your culture with your team members.

Post below about how have you seen doing the little things right over and over again can lead to outrageous success in large goals?

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Phil Plisky

I want to change peoples lives through dialogue about injury prevention research and return to activity testing.

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