Creating a Culture of Success
by Reginald Grant, MSEd
Most of us strive to be successful in whatever we endeavor to attempt. Creating a culture of success in our homes, our work environments’ or teams is a difficult task at best. As parents, we want to help our kids to thrive and succeed in everything. As a teacher in the classroom, I want to create an environment that allows every student to achieve individual success. To help them grow and improve on a daily basis. As a business professional or leader, we want the environment to lead to profits build on the success of the group. As a coach we need to win to be considered successful, winning is built on the individual efforts of many for a common goal.
Thus, success is measured in many ways and for many purposes. For parents, it’s the light going off in your children’s eyes when they make a new discovery or achieve a small mile stone, from taking their first step, doing well on an exam, scoring the winning goal or in a thousand other ways. I see creating a successful mindset for ourselves and our children as part of our reasonability as parents. There isn’t a manual for parenting despite all of the books and modern tools, it is still a trial and error process. Children respond to things differently and are as individual as our finger prints, so we must adapt, adjust and strive to figure it out. Creating a home culture is an ever-evolving process and we must place our children in situations they can safely learn and grow in. Despite our culture of instant gratification and everyone wins all of the time, failure is to a part of that process. Successful people embrace failure as one of the steps to success. We must nurture our children and yet help them understand that success is a process.
I read an interesting article on Clemson football Coach Dabo Sweeney and the adversity he faced as a child and young man. The article was published before they won the national championship. The ever-present theme of the story was perseverance and his determination to make the best of every opportunity. Thus, he has turned a floundering program into a national powerhouse by developing a success-oriented culture. By nurturing and caring for the people he’s charged to oversee and motivate, from his players to his staff. The same qualities displayed by the contributing authors of my book “Success Stories Insights by African American Males.” When I was a high school head football coach my biggest challenges were all of the outside influences and the historic culture of the programs I was charged to change. So many of the elements of the historic culture of the programs were hidden and lay below the surface. I was too focused on the internal elements, was a bad politician and did not address the impact of outside influences well enough. Sweeney has done that and created a culture of success.
The same problems inherent in the development of a sports team permeate a business. It’s a group of individuals with very diverse backgrounds that need to work together for a common goal, business success equals profits. Creating a culture of success for a business is a daunting task and leadership must provide the direction that leads to success. Creating that culture takes a focused vision that must be dynamic and purposeful.
In our schools, I have often seen leadership that was focused on achieving goals related to success on the standardized test. Yet, they too often forgot that like a home individual success is the determining factor in the success of the group. They too often talked about creating a culture of success without including opportunities to adequately motivate the individual students. Many times they used artificial rewards and arbitrary collective goals. Too often they did not connect the students to alumni who had gone though the same situations and circumstances to succeed. They often did not paint the picture and vision of the world of opportunities’ open to the students. Successful schools especially in urban and challenging environments’ must be more diligent in connecting the students with real world success stories and people.
Different societies, nations and even the sub categories’ within in those groups see success so very differently. Even within groups of people of similar backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic status and ethnic group’s success can be viewed with different lenses. How do you define success? Is it money, fame fortune, a relationship with god, who knows but you? But one thing I do know is that success does not happen without commitment, a commitment to your family, business, mission, or team and it always includes a vision and a goal. Does your vision of success help others? Or are you looking for success in all of the wrong places and things?
We need to create the same types of cultures of success in our business circles. I was a businessman for many years prior to entering education. As I looked back in reflection I realized that when I was most successful, I was surrounded by other liked minded people. I was fortunate enough to have been surrounded by people who wanted to make money, but not at any cost. They had a work ethic, ethics and cared about others. It all boiled down to one common thread, people. It was about relationships and a culture of success. As a result of my past experiences, I joined forces with a core group to develop a platform for business success. The Business Circle a private, invitation based business networking group out of Los Angeles. We currently have members in about 10 states and France. Our goal is not to be huge, but to foster win-win business relations where the drive for profits does not blind us. I firmly believe that one can have success, and have a positive impact on society.
by Reginald Grant, MSEd, Author, Speaker and Consultant