In this second article of the three part series, I look at further attributes of a success culture driving team performance.
The next element that plays its part in enhancing the culture of success is tradition. Tradition is all about legacies from the past – the handing down of events, symbols, and stories that un-equivocally highlight and create vivid images of what it means to be an Australian cricketer, or what it means to be a member of your business or organization.
The Australian Cricket Team
For the Australian Cricket team, the team song stands tall among the tangible celebrations of how success is valued and prized by all members. It is a treasured privilege for one of the members of the team to be asked to lead a rendition of Underneath the Southern Cross.
One of the strongest and most powerful symbols of Australian cricket is the baggy green cap presented to each Test player when he is first selected to play for Australia. I am sure over the years it has had its mystical and magical powers signalled in many ways. But on the occasion of my first Test match with the team in Brisbane, November 1999, where Adam Gilchrist and Scott Muller made their debuts, we were able to link the past with the present when Bill Brown, a member of one of Australia’s finest teams, The Invincibles (1948 Ashes tour to England) presented both caps.
I was recently criticized by Shane Warne for outlining one of Michael Clarke’s deficiencies in his role as captain of the Australian Cricket team. I believe Michael did not understand the concept of team culture and how the baggy green cap was an important symbol and element to delivering a culture which not only spoke of performance onfield, but also represented a beacon for what behaviours and actions of all those privileged to be part of an Australian Cricket team, should be displayed at all times.
The Team Leaders
For traditions to be embraced and become part of the glue that we broadly term culture, the team leaders must play a key role in the promotion of its significance and importance to the current team. This role, principally that of the captain, but also the senior players, is an important legacy they leave the team. Justin Langer is renowned for his many conversations about what he called ‘the fabric’ – those intangible moments and actions which defined and differentiated the Australian Cricket Team.
There is no better way to develop a culture of success than winning games. It is not only winning, but also how games are won, and when and where they are won. Tight contests, come-from-behind wins, wins against the odds, series wins away from home or at the end of a torturously long season, record wins and the big trophy wins. Winning is positively infectious – and the reverse can be said of losing. It is the spirit and tonic shared by those who are a part of its making. In business, it is essential to celebrate successes, celebrate the big wins, the big deals, the being the preferred supplier, and so on.
Having the right systems and processes in place to support the team culture is a major assistance in the development of both the team and the individuals within it. One of the systems that certainly helps to maintain this culture of success is the reward and recognition system. This takes many shapes and sizes, but it generally starts from where our talent is first nurtured, which is in domestic cricket. The interstate competition is a tough breeding ground for future international players. It is still a competition which differentiates players as having long-term versus short term options, and on the whole is very effective. Hence players being selected for the Australian national teams arrive with a good understanding that they can succeed at this new level.
In business, the HR function plays a very important role in not only securing the right talent, but also ensuring that the talent will ‘fit’ the organization while enhancing it at the same time. HR through its various technical and behavioural education & training programs can greatly assist the culture of success process.
Other mechanisms which support the reward and recognition system in cricket were:
· The player rankings and player contracts delivered by the chairman of selectors at the completion of each season.
· The peer evaluation system which is tabulated throughout a season and culminates in the players’ awards night, the Allan Border Medal.
· Such mechanisms can be easily modified and adapted to suit a specific business.