Is your club's culture healthy?

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A club's culture is made up of the values and beliefs of its members.

There are some key indicators that you can test to see if your club's culture is healthy or not.

Some key indicators that your club culture is healthy:

  • most players stay for a few years
  • membership has increased or stayed the same during the past five years
  • it is easy to get people to volunteer
  • It is easy to get people to join a committee
  • committee members enjoy their role and remain involved for a number of years
  • committee meetings are efficient and effective
  • volunteers help for more than one season
  • people support social functions
  • people support fundraisers
  • there are few (or no) harassment/abuse/conflict issues within the club
  • any issues are dealt with well
  • club policies are supported (e.g. participation)
  • officials are respected and appreciated by most members
  • the workload is spread between many people
  • new people are made to feel welcome
  • the committee knows why people leave the club or their volunteer role
  • our club is well respected in the wider community.

Making Change

If you decide that club culture is not healthy and change is needed, be prepared for a gradual process. Below we talk about how change happens and how new ways get embedded.

But start with these actions:

1. Be aware of why change is needed.
2. Have the desire to make change.
3. Share knowledge.
4. Create an ability to change.
5. Reinforce the value of successful change.

If the responses from your Club Culture Assessment suggest that change is needed, a Culture Change Plan can help. While change – of any degree – can take a considerable amount of time, the key is to maintain broad and ongoing communication between your committee and members. Communication is pivotal in addressing and solving any issues.

Changing a culture does not happen overnight. In fact change is a gradual process as the story below illustrates.

The story of the Five Monkeys.

There once was a cage that contained five monkeys. Also inside the cage hung a banana on a string with a set of stairs beneath it. Before long, a monkey went up the stairs towards the banana. As soon as he touched the stairs, the other four monkeys were sprayed with cold water.

After a while, another monkey approached the banana. When he reached the stairs, the other four monkeys were again sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when any of the monkeys climbed the stairs, the other monkeys tried to prevent it.

Then the cold water was turned off and one monkey was removed from the cage and replaced with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and attempted to climb the stairs. To his surprise, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he knew that if he tried to climb the stairs he would be assaulted.

Another of the original five monkeys was replaced with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and was attacked. The previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, a third monkey was replaced with a newcomer. The new monkey made it to the stairs but was attacked.

Two of the four monkeys that beat him had no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they were participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After the fourth and fifth original monkeys were replaced, all the monkeys that had been sprayed with cold water had been replaced.

Nevertheless, none of the monkeys approached the stairs ever again. Why not? Because as far as they knew, that's the way it had always been around there.