Unintended Consequences of Culture

THIS WEEK’S BLOG -> Unintended Consequence of Culture

READ -> Nuggest of wisdom from Shane Parrish.

LISTEN -> I don’t know John Savage, Head baseball coach at UCLA but he seems like a really smart and good dude in this podcast–HERE

VERSE -> Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”


There is always another side to your culture.

Uber is one extreme case of how culture always has unintended consequences.

Some of Uber’s values were “always be hustling”, “big bold bets” (take risks), and “meritocracy and toe-stepping” (The best idea always wins. Don’t sacrifice truth for social cohesion and don’t hesitate to challenge the boss).

The other side or dark side of their culture turned into in-fighting and disunity, people being treated horribly, and accusations of stealing intellectual property.

It was normal for people stepping on and over others, breaking the law, and doing whatever it took to get ahead.

Sports Example
Let’s say your cultural values are development, grind, and hard work. One possible unintended consequence can be an inability for your athletes to “compete” or “let it fly” during games. The “training and development” mindset might negate a “competing with freedom” mindset that is needed to excel.

If you are aware of the other side of your culture, you can work to off-set it.

How To Fight Against This Unintended Consequence
Ask yourself these two questions:

1. What are the values and behaviors of our program?
2. What could be the unintended consequence of these values and behaviors?

Answering the first question “What are the values and behaviors of our program?” is actually the most important question you can answer.

There are two primary problems that coaches face.

One, many coaches will use values from other coaches or programs. They believe in them, but they don’t come from their core. They are good and make sense, but they are borrowed.

If the values and behaviors that guide your program are not from your deep-seated beliefs, you will be inconsistent and come across as fraudulent over time.

Two, some coaches have not even defined their values or key behaviors of their program.

So start with YOUR values then ask “what are the potential unintended consequences of these values and beliefs?”

Leaders Must Have Vision
Once you have answered those two questions, you have to get out in front of the potential unintended consequences.

A leader has to have the vision to see this coming. Vision is what separates good from great leaders.

The good or average leaders get caught off guard or only see the obvious. The great leaders anticipate and see potential problems before they ever become problems.

This is called second-order thinking. Second-order thinking is seeing the second, third, and even fourth consequences that come from one decision. 

If a head coach has vision, they lead. Without vision, he/she will end up being a manager. 

The Message
“This program is about development, hard work, and grit. We train at a higher level than anyone in America. We train that way so you are freed up to go compete harder and more free than anyone in America!”

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Travis Wyckoff

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