Sunday, May 11, 2014

Shifting the Culture (part 2 of 2)

You never know when you may be truly inspired.

I'll admit I can be a little different in my internal inspiration.  I typically take a bunch of pieces from several areas (people/books/articles/videos) that I believe are great and I blend them together.  

When it comes to culture I have a clear vision of what I desire.  I believe this has come from experiencing poor culture.  

Twenty plus years ago I remember playing Little League Baseball.  I loved playing ball as a kid until a series of incidents occurred.  We were playing our arch rivals from Concord on a sun drenched evening after school.  I started the game on the mound.  The coach often put me in for a few innings because I threw strikes (not heat).  On this day I was my normal self, but the umpire had a pretty small strike zone.  The first three innings I listened to several adults yell and berate the umpire.  After three innings I was moved to shortstop.  The score was 1-1.  The game stayed close and then in the 6th inning one of our players was on third base.  A wild pitch later and it was a play at the plate.  The call didn't go our way and the parents began to really give it to the umpire.   The next thing I know the coaches are toe to toe and they've got fingers in each others faces.  In a word...ugly!

It was at this very moment that I said in my own head...I'll never be that parent.  It's just a game.

As I reflect back, the parents and coaches created a tension filled atmosphere that eventually pushed me and others away from baseball.  The joy had been sucked out of the game.

So how does a little league story relate to organizational culture?  I think we can all agree that when we walk into a room or building we "feel" something.  What we feel is the atmosphere.  It doesn't matter if you walk into a classroom, office, school or ballpark...the atmosphere says a lot about how you feel in and about a place.  We as adults need to create an atmosphere that allows students to take risks, explore and know that adults truly care.  

Last week I talked about Culture Reigns Supreme. This week is going to focus on creating that culture and steps you can take to shift the story.

My belief is that you need to do a few things really well...not a bunch of things average.  With that being said, I'm going to share my three big points to shifting the culture.

Number 1:  Relationships Must Come First!  
 - First and foremost trust needs to be established.  As you begin to build trust throughout the organization it is important to do the little things.  Learn names, learn spouse names, learn kids names and listen to the stories.  This step will begin the process.  Next is to appreciate a job well done. Whether it is giving a hand written note or having an uplifting conversation, it is important to notice the greatness that occurs in the organization.  These minor steps will show individuals that they are valued and appreciated.

Number 2:  Shared Vision that Everyone Believes in.
A unified vision that is represented in a logo or visual really unifies an organization.  I also believe in transparency and honesty.  For over two years I have blogged, with my primary goal being to share with the Warner staff.  I try to share current trends, personal thoughts and areas that make me a life long learner.  Often times my posts will reflect on things I've felt and experienced during my life time.  The two main areas that convey vision would be blog posts and our Warner logo:

When all parties embrace the vision, the culture begins to shift.  It no longer is about one individual. It is now about the organization.  For us, it's simple: We are student-centered!  Shortly after the visual came out I began hearing a lot of positives and the overall atmosphere was shifting.

Number 3:  Attitude is Everything.
I'm a true believer that we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction and attitude.  Each day I pride myself in greeting students at the front door and participating at recess.  While I do these small things I try to always be positive and student-centered.  To help kids start their school day on a great note and to look forward to playing with them at recess is just a small way I can bring joy to their school day.  Each day we will be confronted with moments that we can't predict.  I try very hard to not let these moments ruin my day.  My mindset is to, Be the Change You Wish to See in the World!

As I wrap up part two of Shifting the Culture I encourage you to find people that lift you up. There was once a time that I chose to associate with people that I allowed to drag me down, no longer is that the case.  My advice, cherish the people that make you laugh, lift you up and challenge your thinking.  We are all on a journey, our attitude about the path we choose can make all the difference.

This Week's Big Questions:  When you walk into your organization, what does the atmosphere feel like?  How does that make you feel?


Monday, May 12th:  1:1 Tech Meeting at 1pm
Monday, May 12th:  Minecraft/Lego Club 4pm
Tuesday, May 13th:  9am Admin Meeting
Tuesday, May 13th:  9am Bickle Jazz Assembly
Tuesday, May 13th:  Panther Pride Lunch
Tuesday, May 13th:  Minecraft/Lego Club 4pm
Tuesday, May 13th:  Final PTO meeting 7pm 
Wednesday, May 14th:  K-2 Assembly 8:45am
Wednesday, May 14th:  Happy BDay to Breanna Davey
Wednesday, May 14th:  Minecraft Club 3pm
Thursday, May 15th:  Lego Club 4pm
Friday, May 16th:  Miss Howey Middle School Trip 
Friday, May 16th:  Martial Arts Assembly 2:40pm
Friday, May 16th:  Warner Lock-In 5pm - 9pm

Articles Worth Reading:

Life is not a race shared by +Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy

Videos Worth Watching:

Earth Day and Funny Signs... (4 min) +TheEllenShow 

Fatherhood Project...(7 min)

WOW! Must watch this (3 min)


  1. I have been waiting all week and you did not disappoint. I too believe that you can feel it when you walk into a room. More importantly I believe that children can feel it even more than we can. Sometimes we have so many other things on our minds that we forget to remember culture. Sometimes that is all that our kids have. School is their best place and we need to take that seriously. Thanks again for putting kids first.

  2. What pressure Jon! JK
    I'm glad you got something from the post. I believe everyone can agree that you can "feel" the atmosphere when you enter a place. The trick is, if you don't like what you feel how can you change it? I hope these suggestions are taken to heart and people begin to understand a happy, pleasant workplace lifts everyone up.

    I appreciate you reading and responding. Thank you.

  3. Incredible! I am inspired by your words and your passion to make a difference. Your blog is a breath of fresh air!

    1. Bethany,
      WOW! Your words lift me up. I appreciate the kind words and support. Basically I wanted to take the moment and share my thoughts on culture. I don't claim to be perfect or a genius, I simply share experiences and hope to assist others.