Monday, March 27, 2017

CAO - Cultural Advocacy Officer

Gonzaga University men's basketball team earned its first "Final Four" berth.  As a proud alumnus, I enjoyed seeing the Bulldogs finally break through.  In the aftermath, coach Mark Few said,

“This was a culture win, a culture statement, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Few is a remarkably successful basketball coach.  More importantly, he is a leader who understands the importance of culture to organizational success.  What we do is a reflection of who we are.  Who we are begins with who we think we are.  And who we think we are can and does change over time.

One of my most important responsibilities as a chief administrative officer (CAO) in a local government is cultural.  And one of the first tasks is actually using words like "culture, "milieu," and "ethos" in management discussions.

Responsible leaders need to do more than simply exist within a given culture; they must shape it to better achieve the goals of the mission... whether that mission is winning basketball games or providing core public services.

Almost every organizational (and social) culture has some positives.  The journey begins with recognizing the positives.  The work comes in identifying and changing elements where we need to evolve.

Congratulations to Mark Few and the Gonzaga Bulldogs for figuring out how to do more than just win basketball games.

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