Culture and accountability are very often talked about together.
Culture: the “standard”, the way things are done here, how we act
Accountability: requirement or expectation to justify decisions
Culture is a buzz word in business, sports, and life in general. Whether a coach should think culture is important or what they want their culture to be has been discussed endlessly.
I’ve talked about one of the biggest keys to having a good culture is surrounding yourself with people who will buy-in. Not necessarily agree with every decision, but be on board. If you have the opportunity to select who is on your team, making sure they know what it looks like to be a part of your team is critical to a positive culture.
Obviously, accountability is critical. I think an interesting topic to discuss is how coaches hold their players accountable. The way in which this is done today is quite different in most situations than how it was done 20 years ago.
But that’s not the point here either.
Culture is definitely a “we thing”, but I think we overlook that it starts with “me”.
More important than holding your staff accountable to your culture and more important than holding your players accountable to your culture is holding yourself accountable. In an effort to build a culture or keep a positive culture intact, the first thing you have to be able to do is hold yourself accountable.
This means that how you want your staff and team to do things is the same way that you’re going to do them. How you conduct yourself will be exposed through your team’s culture.
Things to Consider
Question 1: Can you hold yourself accountable to your culture?
The truth is that none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. All of us fall short of our standard sometimes. When we’re aware of it, can we hold ourselves accountable to it? Are we aware of it, admit it, fix it and move forward?
A person’s self-awareness is critical to their success.
Question 2: Who is going to hold you accountable besides yourself?
This is the more interesting question to me.
You want to be a head coach because you get to do what you want. You want to have “your own program”. The program isn’t yours. Whether you’re there for 1 year or 30 years, someone else will sit in your office eventually.
Whether it’s high school, college, or the pros, everyone has a boss. Whether it’s your athletic director, your GM or your owner, the team really isn’t “yours”. The blessing and the curse are that most of the time those people aren’t in the trenches with you.
They may hold you accountable to the results that your team achieves, but who is going to hold you accountable every day? Do you have someone on your staff that you trust to let you know when you mess up? Will you let someone on your staff hold you accountable? How much do you let your players keep you honest?
Every situation is different. Every team is different. I don’t propose that the same solution exists in every situation. However, the part that doesn’t change is that every leader needs to be held accountable on a daily basis if they want to have a positive culture. If you wait until the end of the season, it might be too late.