Human Resources · Leadership

Episode 22: Create a culture that people want to be a part of

We hear about culture a lot, but what does it really mean, and how do we influence it to help us deliver our mission? Nancy and Sarah pull apart what culture is and what makes up a culture. Culture is malleable, so they talk about how a small nonprofit can shift its culture to be more inclusive, more learningful, and more reflective of their values. Of course they need to mention the oft-cited quote, “Culture eats strategy for lunch,” which is particularly relevant given how often nonprofit people eat leftovers for lunch. They prefer the Simon Sinek quote:  “Culture is like the wind. It is invisible, yet its effect can be seen and felt. When it is blowing in your direction, it makes for smooth sailing. When it is blowing against you, everything is more difficult.”

Questions to reflect on before you listen:
What is your organization’s culture now? What three words would you use to describe your culture?

Discussion questions:

  1. What resonated with you about this conversation? What would you like to take back to your organization?
  2. We talk about the 3 places culture is seen or experienced: in your stuff, the behavior that you see or hear, and the values and experiences that are invisible to the eye. If we were to attend a board meeting, what “stuff” would we see (agendas, organizational documents, incorporation documents, etc.)? What would we see and hear? What would we sense in our body? Which of those would you like to spend time working on to strengthen your culture?
  3. Describe what you wish your culture were. How might you get there?

Words of the Week:  Detached, as in separating yourself from the situation to be able to see it better
What does this word mean to you and your organization? When can your leadership team “detach” to reflect on your culture?

What do you think?