NFL, NBA & NCAA: How Important is Culture?

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Organizational Communication was one of the most fascinating undergrad courses I’ve ever taken.  So much so, it later inspired me to enroll in the graduate level version. While the textbooks changed a bit, the content didn’t. One topic in particular remains a consistent & relevant theme….the role Culture plays in an organization.

The Business Dictionary defines culture as the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. 

There is no denying its impact, the only question is whether the outcome is positive or not:

Culture is…..why it is highly unlikely the Cleveland Browns have a winning season on the horizon.  A revolving door of coaches and quarterbacks aren’t ingredients in a more wins than losses column…..

On the flip side, culture is….why teams such as the Ravens will remain relevant for years to come---a solid infrastructure provides reassurance that even after a season filled with one injury after the next, a comeback is right around the corner…..

Culture is….why the Carolina Panthers (aside from a few nail biters here and there) appeared to have the most.fun.ever throughout the season while on the other coast, the 49ers looked as though the Sunday afternoon shift was an unavoidable chore……

Culture is….why two years in, the Cavs have just now concluded that an exceptional player is not an exception to the rules.  Waiting for a whistle while your team is on the other end defending 5 with only 4 is not cool…..even for the best player in the world…

Culture is….why the LSU Tigers appear to accept this entire season as the “Ben Simmons Experiment”  and chalk it all up to “getting better for later” vs “being better now”….

Culture is…..why it is widely accepted in the NCAA basketball arena that to be an upperclassmen equals non-pro material. Thank you Buddy Hield for proving that notion wrong….& oh for doing so as a Oklahoma Sooner!

Culture is….why some likeminded journalists have tried their best to make this year’s Super Bowl headline about race.  For the most part there aren’t too many topics that aren’t one or two steps from race….this one though is so much more…

And on that same note….Culture must be at play for the NFL to act as if Super Bowl SATURDAY does not have a very, very nice ring to it…when it really does!!

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