Over the past few weeks I have been learning about culture, climate, engagement, teamwork, and leadership in a variety of texts, articles, podcasts, and blog posts. As I continued to read, listen, and reflect, I kept asking myself what separates the great teams and organizations from the rest.
There have been many books written by authors who have a lot more experience and research than me and are quite a bit more articulate on this topic; however, within this post, I am going to explain what I believe separates the best from everyone else.
Plain and simple, the best schools, districts, teams, companies, and organizations have created and operate within an "all in" culture. In places like this, everyone from the teachers, custodians, secretaries, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, instructional coaches, and anyone who serves the school feels valued and clearly understands that what they say and do matters every minute of every day. People working in "all in" cultures understand clearly that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Individual accolades and external factors such as awards, salary, and benefits are not the focus of players within an "all in" environment; rather, these people are locked into their purpose and how they contribute to the movement toward the mission of the team.
I have not shared anything above that will blow your mind or that you haven't read before, but I hope you take a couple of minutes to reflect. Are you part of an "all in" environment? Is your focus where it needs to be and are you "all in?" If not, do yourself and your team a favor and move on to a place where you will be "all in." If you are in a position of leadership, do you have the right people on your team who fit the "all in" description?
The best teams and organizations focus their time, effort, and energy on getting the right people to enrich the "all in" culture. I will close this post with an excerpt from Good to Great by Jim Collins: We expected that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy. We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats - and then they figured out where to drive it. The old adage "People are your most important asset" turns out to be wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.