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3 Tips and Tricks to Help Reinvent Your Association’s Culture

Sabrina Gregrow

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your association has its own culture. And your members notice it, too.

According to a study conducted by Columbia Business School, More than 50% of executives agree that building up company culture drives an increase in both productivity and profitability. But even though culture can boost organization success, 87% of organizations claim culture is one of the top challenges they face.

It’s clear that culture is one of the most important assets an organization can have; it could even hinder bringing on new members. That’s why it’s crucial to create a comfortable environment for everyone, members and staff included, so they can do their best work and create those significant relationships with one another.

Without direction and positive influences, negative factors can take hold, shaping your culture in a way that can become harmful for your association. Organizational culture should be the vision you have, but that’s not always the case.

Changing company values can be easy, but reinventing the intangible atmosphere in the association takes more work. However, it can and should be done- and here are a few tips to help make that happen

Let’s take a look at a few things that can hinder your organization’s development of an effective culture:

 

Poor Communication

In order to have thriving company culture, you need to make sure your association’s staff is on the same page. And that means your communication should be top tier.

Associations must ensure leaders are communicating values, visions, goals and major changes effectively and regularly so that those within the association can completely understand the processes taking place.

When there is poor communication, members don’t get the correct information and they can even feel that their voice isn’t being heard. They could even feel intimidated to speak up about ideas they have that could improve the association as a whole. And encouraging fear rather than respect can only take you so far- not to mention you want your members to come to your association.

Lack of communication within the association can develop issues for prospects who were interested in joining. It can cause confusion for everyone involved, making it so you lose your prospects and even your members.

Taking time to improve your communication can ultimately recover your association and advance its culture to the next level.

 

Resistance to Change

Old traditions die hard, and you don’t want your association holding onto things that just aren’t driving culture in the right direction.

Phrases such as “We always do things this way”, “That won’t work here”, and “It’s not my problem” can hinder progress within your associations culture. These specific statements are what causes your association to be at a standstill, with no force to grow.

In order to progress and improve your culture, you have to be accepting of transformations within your organization that can help with growth. You can’t grow as an association without changing aspects of it as you develop.

A positive culture accepts change and works with adjustment. In order to reinvent your association’s culture, you have to get rid of the barriers and roadblocks that keep your organization in one place. Keeping it from moving forward and rejecting new enhancements can keep your culture from improving.

 

Toxic Employees

Too much competition between employees can cause negative impacts in the association’s culture. A toxic environment can lead to a decrease in knowledge sharing and even a divide between employees.

When an employee is in a position of authority, it can cause a cascade effect to other employees causing a toxic culture. This can result in toxic behaviors among all employees creating a negative association making it hard to want to be a part of.

While it may seem to be common sense to hire the candidate with the best skills for that position, hiring for culture will help you to maintain the positive vision you have for your association.

Now that you’re aware of elements that can hinder your associations culture, here a three essential steps in changing that culture:

 

1. Analyze your current culture

Culture evolves from the beliefs, values, and assumptions that are held by employees and by looking at culture, an association’s natural assets become visible.

Leadership teams who take their time to either measure their culture with an assessment or openly discussing the values that drive behavior, are able to credibly assess the often unseen and ignored dimensions of culture that matter. Therefore, it’s important to analyze the current culture your association has in place and see what’s working, and what needs to be fixed.

 

2. Talk about it

Whether you measure or merely try to name your culture, it is important to engage each and every employee about what they feel and notice about the culture you have discovered.

Since culture grows due to the beliefs and assumptions of members, discussion about culture at all levels helps an organization more precisely connect the dots between what they do today and how they want it to be tomorrow.

It is essential that all employees be engaged in these conversations, rather than just the team at the top, as change will require all employees to begin to think differently in order to act differently. Give everyone a fair say in what your association’s culture should look like and how it should be shaped for future success.

 

3. Take focused action to change

For an association to change, they first have to understand. This can mean that they see what their association is about, and they recognize what they can improve.

Organizations can pick one or two things to change at a time to make a difference in their culture. This type of focus can allow members to practice new ways of doing things and shifting beliefs which result in actual culture improvement. Overloading your association with many different changes will result in confusion and zero improvement.

Speaking up and challenging ideas can build your culture and also develop trust. Targeting specific ways to create trust at all levels where people can engage in debates that are healthy and constructive, therefore developing change and job satisfaction.

 

Reinventing your association culture is possible, but it’ll take work.

Your association’s culture shift does not have to mean the end of what it once was. But if you work to reinvent the way your culture is perceived by both staff and members, you could have a successful environment for productivity and progression on your hands.

Let your members know the culture is changing, tell them what behaviors and attitudes have to go but accept ideas for what the new culture should be. Culture is ultimately for your members and they are able to tell you what it takes to create a positive and supportive association.

Once you have a new culture clear, share it with your association. You don’t want to be vague and quickly go over the topic or you’ll encounter more problems down the road. Recap what the previous issues were and share the new cultural direction for the company.

 

Your association will appreciate the positive changes that its new culture brings about. Change can be intimidating at first, but ultimately that change will better the association as a whole and if everyone is on board, it’s bound to create a positive atmosphere for everyone.