Every organization has a culture, and it exists whether we want it to or not. Culture is the shared beliefs, values and practices that both define and distinguish an organization. Unplanned and left to evolve freely over time, organizational culture can become an odd mix of both good and bad habitual behaviors, the tangible evidence of culture.
But we can also create an intentional culture – one we can be proud of, which is exactly what we’re doing by deploying the Arizona Management System (AMS) in our agencies. It’s an intentional culture built upon continuous improvement.
Culture embodies the default mindsets and habitual behaviors that combine to deliver consistent outcomes. These outcomes can be good and bad, too, but either way, they result directly from the way people think about and do their work.
The saying “nothing succeeds like success” aptly applies in that outcomes themselves reinforce the default mindsets and habitual behaviors. Success is much more likely to result if we consistently think and do the right things the right way, and intentionally set a strategy to create the culture that allows success to flourish.
We see this and know it to be so in our own agencies and collectively across the statewide enterprise. We’re fortunate to work among many dedicated men and women who care deeply for public service and are passionate about advancing their agency mission. And yet we know that even at our best, there is ample room for improvement.
Positive outcomes will result as we apply the methods and tools of AMS to visually manage performance, solve problems, and commit to excellence at all levels to drive continuous improvement and deliver ever-increasing results for our ever-expanding mission. The figure below illustrates this positive, reinforcing cycle.
It’s important that we get this right because having a great culture is critical to attracting and retaining the very best talent to better serve Arizona. Having a great culture unleashes extraordinary people to do extraordinary work delivering breakthrough results for our vital agency missions.
Since culture happens whether we want it to or not, we should commit ourselves to intentionally create a culture we can be proud of, in an environment where dedicated public servants long to work, always inspired to do more good for Arizona.