Got Good Culture?

nonprofit organizational cultureWe are getting requests for advice on how to address issues related to nonprofit organizational culture. Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. Think about culture as the personality of your nonprofit. It defines the environment in which employees work. It is shown in:                                            

   

(1) the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the wider community,
(2) the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression,
(3) how power and information flow through its hierarchy, and
(4) how committed employees are towards collective objectives.

But what if those values have not been articulated, practiced, and periodically evaluated?  The result is often staff dissatisfaction, low morale and turnover. I really like this article from Nonprofit Quarterly that references the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Check out the 19 practices designed to set out an explicit set of expectations for leadership from board members, managers, and volunteers and encourage broad participation in important discussions and decision-making. How many of these are embedded of your organization’s culture?


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