Friday, April 10, 2009

Cultures That Nurture Commitment, Enthusiasm and Creativity

I once worked in a nonprofit in which the behavior of the day was back-stabbing, one-upmanship, intrigue and gossip. This behavior was encouraged by the Executive Director who seemed to take great pleasure in pitting people against one another. It really was a toxic environment. When I became an Executive Director of a national organization, I was determined that the culture I created would be collegial, supportive and cooperative. One of the things I discovered was that you can get a lot of work out of people who are happy in their job. And a happy crew made me happy. Dianne Crampton writes about core values that should be practised in every organization, not for profit or for profit. A good read for you, your employees and your Board Members. Bunnie

Cultures That Nurture Commitment, Enthusiasm and Creativity

By Dianne Crampton, President TIGERS Success Series

What is necessary to build an ethical, quality-focused, productive, motivated, and enthusiastic group of people? This is a question I asked before entering a Masters program in Organizational Leadership in 1987.

What I discovered was interesting. Emerging from business, education and psychology group dynamic studies were six repeatable principles – trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success -- TIGERS. What I also discovered is that these themes are anchored by behaviors that are easily recognized by how people treat one another and the organizations they serve.

Later, two independent validation studies concluded that these values are reliable, measurable and predictive. This means that if the values are present in an organization’s culture there will be predictable outcomes. If they are not there will also be predictable outcomes. The first, however, produces a culture that stimulates commitment, enthusiasm, creativity, and high levels of collaboration and teamwork among leaders and their teams.

Take for example, trust. Trust is a core human need. It is the belief and confidence in the integrity, reliability and fairness of a person or group.

As a core need, it is necessary for a person to grow into their full potential. In other words, people need to be able to trust one another and the groups they serve in order to be creative, motivated, committed, willing to collaborate, and able to resolve conflict so that they can forgive when problems arise.

Trust and the other five values are also interdependent with the three management functions that support the service the group performs – workforce, strategies and systems.
This means that if one of these functions is out of alignment, the others will be, too. The result is reduced productivity and damaged morale.

For example, if systems (how you do things) are out of alignment with strategies (what you do) and workforce (proper staffing levels) what will be evident is overworked staff and insufficient systems. If the behaviors that support trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success are apparent then collaboration, information sharing, and problem solving among all employees will help bring the business functions into alignment.

If distrust, competition and lack of input from employees exist, strategic goals are jeopardized. Morale will be low. And unbalanced work loads with unsustainable systems will produce stress for employees, which reduce creativity, enthusiasm and commitment.

An example is relying on grants alone for funding service goals without regard for strategies and systems that support ethical and sustainable workforce issues (health care, retirement and fair compensation). This means that the values trust, empathy, interdependence, and risk would be low.

Therefore, the values trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success addresses core principles people need to work collaboratively and to their highest potential, which translates into productivity for the organizations they serve.

One or all of these values may be named in the organization’s operational value system or not. Either way, the behaviors that support them are measurable and support a culture that nurtures ethical, quality-focused, productive, enthusiastic, and creative employees or not.

A free white paper is available at that explains the six values and behaviors that support and undermine them.

Dianne Crampton has been working with motivated leaders and their teams helping them to consistently achieve goals with high levels of collaboration and teamwork for over 20 years. She is a published author, speaker, team consultant, leadership coach and president of TIGERS Success Series. She was nominated for Inc. Magazines regional entrepreneurial award for developing a game that teaches the six values and behaviors to leaders and teams. To get more information, go to

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