In Praise of Culture Warriors

To know me is to know I’m a BIG Diamondbacks fan. Particularly of those players whose play doesn’t show up in the box score. The gamers & grinders who execute the small stuff. Hits the cut-off man. Gets the bunt down. Moves runners over. Then show up big in the “in-between” moments. The one on the top step of the dugout waving rally towels at the fans.

‘Glue guys’ they’re called.
Essential to the success of a ballclub.
No less essential to the success of an organization.

In a corporate or professional setting, a glue guy or glue gal is the one who does the little, often unnoticed, things that help the company in a big way … every day.

I love how comedian Steve Martin puts it:

“It’s easy to be great.
To rise to occasions when stars align and everything is clicking.
Those times are accidental and statistical: like a hand of cards.
To succeed because of circumstances.

What’s hard is to be good.
To show up. Consistently. Reliably. No matter the abominable circumstances.
To make predicaments manageable … workable.
To succeed despite circumstances.”

These glue types aren’t concerned with individual accolades. Instead, they concern themselves with doing whatever it takes on behalf of the company. That includes responsibilities beyond the job description that can have a huge impact on team chemistry and performance. Every manager wants one on his or her team, and every employee wants to work with one.

The gal who brings in donuts. The guy who sets up a happy hour. Glue types who step up & into those “in-between” moments.

Why so keen on all the rah-rah, sis-boom-bah?
Because celebration builds relationships.
Celebration builds culture.
Celebration cultivates purpose and pride in what we do.
Appreciation of who we do it alongside of … who we do it on behalf of.
Celebration builds excitement for the future.
As it reduces stress in the everyday.

In fact, researchers at the Yale School of Management found that the social cohesion within a team is more predictive of profit and success than the number of years of experience and the collective IQ of the team.

The more face-to-face socializing team members engage in, the more energy and focus they have to complete tasks.

It provides an enhanced feeling of community that lowers employee absenteeism and turnover as it raises morale, motivation and productivity.

Let’s face it, anything that can be made, sold or produced will someday be done faster, better, cheaper. By someone else. Employees can be stolen. Marketing can be copied.

It is culture that cannot be appropriated.

Culture that inspired a Southwest airlines crew in Phoenix to celebrate its 
one-millionth ticketless customer with an impromptu baggage cart parade, confetti shower, employee serenade and champagne toast — right at the gate.

Culture that wins.

And to its warriors — those unheralded glue guys & gals — a tip of my cap.