Step 3 of my adversity action plan:

3. Count On Your Culture

Your long-term culture is the backbone of your organization. Whether you pay attention to it or not, your team has a culture. How much you do to define it and cultivate it is up to you, but your approach will have a significant impact on your long-term success.

When adversity hits, the culture of your team will be your strength. It is what you can count on. If you have a group that believes in your day-to-day approach, they will stick together and seek out ways to get better. They won’t let the negative take over their mentality if your organizational ethos is something worth fighting for.

Having a defined set of values and a mission that everyone is connected to is important. I did some leadership development seminars with a military supply company this spring, and part of their mission was too “better the lives of military families around the world.” I thought that was a really powerful mission. We talked about the adversity that hit this spring with the pandemic and how it impacted their organization. Their sales team still had to work and find a way to provide for military families. But helping out military families through difficult times was an impactful way to keep their team together and fight through the challenges. That mission statement made a difference.

If your team really believes in a defined mission it will really help you when things don’t go their way. When JFK went to visit NASA as the President in the ’60s after charging NASA with putting a man on the moon, he introduced himself to a janitor he met. He asked the janitor what he did at NASA and his response was “I’m helping put a man on the moon sir.” Everyone in the organization believed in the same mission. When you face tough times, that can be really helpful.

It’s important that your team knows you are playing an infinite game. What you are doing doesn’t end with wins and losses. There is tremendous character development in your approach that goes beyond the results. When your team realizes the impact what you do is going to have on them long-term, the belief is that much stronger. And when the team starts to struggle they will stick together.

Handling adversity doesn’t start the moment adversity hits. Check your program every day, and don’t make any short-cuts when it comes to your culture. Is your group prepared to handle a tough situation? Prepare yourself every day with clear, concise values and a mission that everyone believes in. That belief will keep you in the right place when tough times hit.

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