What Trumps Culture? Understanding the Impact of Team Dynamic

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You’ve heard the Peter Drucker quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It’s a simple way to say the overall vibe and values within a credit union have a stronger impact on success than the best-laid plans or tactics.

But is there something that eats culture?

The most brilliant strategy at a credit union doesn’t stand a chance with a culture that is negative or misaligned. A healthy culture promotes adaptability and resilience, enabling organizations to better navigate change and unexpected challenges.

When the culture is strong, employees are more likely to be aligned with the credit union’s vision and mission. And we know that a positive culture attracts top talent. A study by Glassdoor found that 77% of people consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and 56% rank a good workplace culture as more important than salary.

So, while we know culture is important, something does, in fact, eat culture.

Teams.

Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, norms, and practices that characterize an organization. Amazon has a “customer obsession” culture. Salesforce’s culture is built around the concept of Ohana, meaning family. Airbnb’s culture? Belonging. Patagonia fosters a culture of environmental responsibility.

Now, if only it was as easy as finding employees that identify with the core values and principles within each of these company’s culture – as distinct as they are. A strong organizational culture is the underlying fabric of your credit union, but that’s just it: It’s the backbone. The foundation. The framework. It’s not the trenches.

Culture is an abstract, pervasive force shaping overall behavior, whereas teams are groups of individuals who come together to achieve specific goals or tasks. They are cross-functional, department-specific, or project-based. Team dynamics are influenced by the member’s skills, personalities, and the team-leader’s style.

When it comes to staffing challenges at your credit union, a powerful culture will attract employees, and poor team dynamics will drive them away. Conflict, lack of collaboration, poor management practices, workload imbalance, lack of recognition, etc. are what cause employees to leave. And yes, you can have an organizational culture that sets the tone and values of the credit union and still fails miserably with teams.

So, where do you start?

Assess Team Dynamics

This often starts with getting out of your own head. Too often, we fall into the trap of reverting back to a culture as “the fix.” It may fix the problem… but it may not. Instead, observe team meetings and interactions to identify any viable issues or conflicts. Distribute surveys or conduct feedback sessions to gather input from employees about team interactions, communication, workload, and leadership.

Develop an Action Plan  

From improving communication to enhancing collaboration to reducing conflicts, set clear, measurable goals. Develop and implement training programs focused on team dynamics, and plan regular, team-building activities to strengthen relationships and foster a sense of unity.

Monitor Progress and Adjust

Establish ongoing feedback loops where employees can provide input on the effectiveness of implemented changes. Schedule regular check-ins with teams to discuss progress, challenges, and any new issues that arise. It is okay to adjust the action plan. Note Well: As leaders, guide your teams to find the best solutions; do not do it for them. After all, being in the trenches, they may be aware of more than you.

Both culture and team dynamics are crucial. They are two sides of the same coin. A positive culture sets the tone and values, creating an environment where employees feel connected and motivated. It is the quality of team interactions, leadership, and collaboration, however, that directly impacts their daily work experience, and ultimately their decision to stay or go.

If you need help enhancing your credit union culture or improving team dynamics, YMC is here to assist. We can develop strategies and implement practices to transform your workplace into an environment where both culture and teams flourish.

As Vice President of Brand Experience for Your Marketing Co., Frank Allgood works with credit unions to develop strong leaders, create effective training programs, and build powerful brands. Want to connect? Call 864.326.8740 or email frank@yourmarketingco.com.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
 
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
 
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche

Copywriter

Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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