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In the realm of organizational effectiveness, culture reigns supreme. It trumps mission, it trumps vision, and it trumps strategy. When you have the right culture everything is easier, life is more fun, and work gets done with energy and enthusiasm. This is why we are being intentional in how we create the culture of the SSC.

What is Culture?

Culture consists of the collective beliefs, values, behaviors, systems, and symbols of a group of people. It binds us together by providing connection and common ground across the group. Merging with the culture validates who we are and gives us a sense of belonging. Culture can include language, vocabulary, how we dress, the flags we wave, what we eat, what we believe and how we act.

Culture in the SSC

At the Sailing Science Center we bring our new volunteers on board with an orientation in which we spell out the organization’s top three values:

» Integrity

» Humility

» Communication

I will say a few words about each of these.

Integrity - 90% of integrity is about simply doing what we say we will do. It is the number one trust builder in relationships. Other aspects of integrity include honesty, accountability, authenticity, and congruency between words and actions. The person with integrity gives credit where it is due—they do not take credit for another’s work. Integrity is a non-negotiable value for our team.

When you hire somebody you look for three things: Brains, Energy, and Integrity. And if they don't have the third you better watch out because the first two will kill you.

— Warren Buffet

Humility - 90% of humility lies in not putting oneself above others. The humble person recognizes and acknowledges everyone’s value and contributions. They treat people with respect and dignity and are willing to apologize when needed. They know that they don’t know it all. They follow the Golden Rule. Their energy is spent trying to be of value, not trying to prove their value. Humility is a non-negotiable value for our team.

People with humility don't think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.

— Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Communication - A regular bidirectional flow of honest and authentic communication is a necessity for relationships to thrive in any setting. It includes listening to what others are saying, speaking up to say what needs to be said, communicating with the person who can make a difference, and not gossiping. It also includes responding to communications in a timely fashion. Communication is a non-negotiable value for our team.

The number one problem in business and in life is communication.

— John Maxwell

Our November Event

At our November event we opened the floor to hear from the team. Here are some of the things they thought were part of the SSC culture:

  • We are sailors!

  • We are data-driven

  • We assume good intent in others

  • We interact in ways that build trust

  • We have a culture of sharing

  • We are not afraid to show vulnerability

  • We believe in transparency

  • We are open-minded and have a growth mindset

  • We embrace diversity and people’s differences

Not bad, huh?


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