“You came here to become us. We didn’t bring you here so that we could become you.” Lou Holtz
Every business, church, sports team, and organization has a culture. That culture does not happen by accident. We either intentionally create it or unintentionally create it.
One of the mistakes that I see many leaders making is trying to create an organizational culture that takes every person’s ideas into account. While inclusion is a very important aspect of leadership, there is also a limit to what we should be inclusive about. No leader wants to hear, “At my last church we did it this way,” or “At my last job, the company did it like this.”
Lou Holtz said that he told every single incoming freshman football player that he coached, “You came here to become us. We didn’t bring you here so that we could become you. We don’t care how you did things in high school. Now what matters is that you do things the way that we teach you.”
While this might sound heavy-handed and authoritarian, Holtz knew how to create organizational culture and he knew how to win. He is one of the winningest college football coaches in history. They had an incredible system in place and knew that if the players followed it, they would be successful on every level. Holtz and his assistant coaches worked hard to create a winning culture.
Many new players under Holtz struggled at first to adjust to the new culture, values, and systems. The older players and the assistant coaches could often be heard telling the new guys, “Just trust the system. The system works and you just need to trust it.”
While you may not want to take as tough an approach as Coach Lou Holtz, it is good to be proactive in developing the kind of culture that we want in our organization. What values do you want to see in the DNA of your company or church? These are the values will determine your culture. Do your systems contribute to creating the culture that you want? Your culture is what sets your organization apart from all the others.
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