30 Oct Cricket Australia Culture – A Balancing Act
The title of the Cricket Australia review of its culture “A Matter of Balance“ says so much in four words.
Culture is complex, confusing and confronting and left to its own devices will find its own level.
This level will be determined by the various sources of power that influence the distinctiveness of the culture. By definition, culture is a pattern of behaviours created over time from those with power and influence and the messages they send about what is considered important and valued. This is clearly displayed by what behaviours are tolerated and what is not.
Unfortunately, the tolerated and not tolerated behaviours are merely the boundaries within which people make judgments on how they should behave. From the report, it appears this ‘grey area’ is too large, hence why people were either unclear or were able to ‘get away’ with certain behaviours. For many coming into the system, they may have simply believed they were doing what is right.
Most organisations we come across, have the CA equivalent ‘How We Play’ mantra. How many though are able to get the ‘focus and balance conundrum’ right? ‘Focus’ is to ensure there are simple and a few clear messages on what is important for the culture and behaviours in the organisation. ‘Balance’ is ensuring all culture qualities are taking into consideration when choosing the right way to make decisions and behave. This is not a cherry-picking exercise. You don’t get to decide which ones you like and which ones you don’t. If careful and thoughtful consideration has gone into creating the culture story, then success is determined by how important and readily this is used to guide decisions and set the tone of what is tolerated and what will not be.
In CA’s case, it appears this balance of power had tipped in favour of the ‘win at all costs’ mentality. As outlined in the report it takes principled leadership to ensure a culture maintains this focus and balance. This is not easy when there are powerful forces trying to push you towards a ‘win at all costs’ mentality.
Hopefully, those with power and influence at CA today can re-establish this balance. Not just for themselves as an institution, but as a representative example for the community at large, and for the many organisations who can learn on what it takes to create a positive performance-enhancing culture.
To learn more about moving your culture from good to great, and get it working for you not against you, I’ve written a field manual “The Power of Culture”. Head to www.thepowerofculture.com.au.
This piece was written by Jeremy Nichols, Founder and MD of Composure, a leading consulting firm specialising in behaviour change and helping leaders and organisations perform through the power of people and culture.
Jeremy Nichols, Founder and MD of Composure