We All Play a Part in Creating a Dynamic Culture - Penn-Mar

We All Play a Part in Creating a Dynamic Culture

Posted on August 31, 2023

By Gregory T. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Human Services | Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Foundation
CEO Greg Miller's headshot

Gregory Miller
President/CEO Penn-Mar Human Services

I hope all of you have had the time to pick up a book (or Kindle) this summer that you couldn’t put down and were anxious to recommend to others.

That was my experience when I read “The Culture Solution: A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together.”  The book is written by New York Times bestselling author, speaker and consultant Matthew Kelly, and I just love his outlook, the way he writes and the moral basis from which he teaches.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that organizational culture is my current obsession. Recently we announced salary increases for our DSPs and are in the midst of our “Belonging” initiative to help us find out how the culture we envision and promote at Penn-Mar squares with the actual day-to-day experiences of our team members.

I really embraced the concepts outlined in “The Culture Solution” around creating and sustaining a dynamic workplace. I was so taken with its approach that I gave copies to every member of our leadership team as well as our directors to read and refer to in continuing discussions around this topic.

Kelly outlines six immutable laws of a dynamic culture. As an organization, I believe each of his principles below are rallying points that we can measure ourselves against:

  1. Make culture a priority.
  2. Mission is king.
  3. Over-communicate the plan.
  4. Hire with rigorous discipline.
  5. Let people know what you expect.
  6. Grow your people by creating a coaching culture.

It’s not like these are unfamiliar concepts. We are already doing many of these things. My hope – which is incredibly ambitious – is that all of us will embrace these six principles and be prepared to act quickly to correct anything in the organization that doesn’t align with them.

I believe the language we use, how we speak and what we value at Penn-Mar has to be incredibly consistent so we’re all working together from a common place of understanding.

That ties in directly to our “Belonging” initiative, which seeks to articulate the reality we want all of our team members to embrace and experience each day as they dedicate their lives to our mission and their specific role in the organization.

More than anything, I want to continue to build a healthy culture that values our teams. The adherence to these six principles will help us to do just that and I envision its impact and momentum like a snowball rolling down a hill.

As a leader, one of my biggest frustrations is when I hear things from team members who contend the reality of who we say we are and how we support our people is not their reality.

Everyone here at Penn-Mar needs to feel like a truly valued member of the organization. It is only then that can we clearly articulate our vision and believe we are actually living that vision every day.

It’s human nature to be your our own worst critic. We are, and have been, doing many things incredibly well, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow and improve. That’s the philosophy I want our team to embrace. The principles in this book are important steps to lead us in that direction.

One book isn’t going to change the culture at Penn-Mar. But Kelly has done a magnificent job of putting his six foundational principles of a dynamic culture in a way that can teach every member of our organization that they have a role to play in making our culture better today than it was yesterday.

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