5 Key Questions – For Leading Team Culture!


Team and Culture: these concepts in business and sport are interchangeable. They both involve how your people feel about your organization, function in your organization, find energy from your team, and consequently, how well your people produce results. Leadership is Influence… leaders influence team culture and team culture brings in results.

I am about to turn 61 this month. Fifty-four years ago, I began a lifetime of participating on teams. Like you, I have played on amazing teams, difficult teams, teams I couldn’t wait to be around, and teams I couldn’t wait to leave.

Most of us can feel when our team energy is going wrong, but not as many invest the time required to understand how to adjust or fix our cultures. This reminds me of an NHL coach who reads the team’s statistics, complains to his centremen that their face-off percentages are down, but has no idea how to work with the centres to improve their face-off skill. Deep down, most people don’t want to blame and complain, but still find themselves reacting within their culture’s flow instead of proactively taking responsibility to change cultural direction.

A friend and client of ours by the name of Frank Tomaselli (President of Denora) distilled the following 4 ideas out of Dr. Gustavo’s work & book called Culture Trumps Everything:

1. "Policies tell people what not to do; culture tells people what to do. Policies limit behavior. Culture drives behavior.”

2. “People work harder for cause than for cash. Purpose supersedes pay.”

3. “The Profit Paradox: in business, long-term profits are best achieved by not making profit the primary goal of your business.”

4. “We get the culture we deserve…”

How do we adjust culture? We start by recognizing what needs to be fixed. Here are a few of my indicators to help you discover where to focus your team development resources.

Five Key Questions to Focus your Thinking:

1. Do your people talk to Logos or Numbers?

Talking to “logos” or to “numbers” is a learned team skill. When our culture is operating at an optimum level, our people consistently reduce their talk to “numbers” (behind our backs). They reduce the blame and gossip, and they talk more to “logos” (face to face) throughout the organization. This team concept sounds so simple, and becomes so impactful. Talking to “numbers” is highly destructive. Talking to “logos”, when fully embraced by the team, accelerates clarity and increases energy. Speaking to the person you were going to complain about takes courage, but in the end, allows both people to create solutions. (For a further discussion on how to implement this process send me a quick note at https://www.ryanwalter.com/contact-us )

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