Imagine it's 2005. You're a member of a sales team at Gillette, the personal care company, and you've just been acquired by the big multinational enterprise, Procter & Gamble. At Gillette you have a very particular way of doing things. Your team makes decisions quickly. When you have an idea to pitch for a new shaving product or soap, you put together a flashy Powerpoint. And if it energizes the team, they get moving. Once you join your new team at P&G after the acquisition, you notice that they seem to be a lot different. They're slower to make decisions, they take longer to deliberate, instead of Powerpoints, they tend to use written memos to communicate with each other. Which you haven't had to do in decades. Worse, when you're in meetings together, they use acronyms like CIB and FMOT all the time. And you have no idea what they mean. What you're experiencing are cultural differences. And on teams, these differences are at the heart of the problems, like miscommunication, and disengagement that cause them to underperform. In fact, that's exactly what happened between P&G and Gillette. Some Gillette employees even made their own glossary of P&G acronyms, just so they could understand what their colleagues were saying. The acquisition made business sense on paper but cultural barriers hurt the value of the deal at first. As an Anthropologist, I would argue that your team culture is one of the biggest factors determining your collective success or failure. In the first course of this specialization, you learned about how culture works in organizations. In this course, we zoom in to understand how culture can help or hurt performance at the group level. In the following sections, we'll look at what you can do to create the right culture on your team and how to fix it when it gets out of alignment. But to manage something, you have to be able to define it first. So let's define team culture for our purposes. Culture is basically the formal and informal rules a group makes to solve problems and get things done. The Anthropologist, Clifford Geertz said, culture is like a set of programs for guiding behavior. For example, P&G employees followed informal rules like we communicate through memos, not Powerpoints. These rules worked well for them but not for Gillette employees. Every group creates rules like this, whether they realize it or not. High-performing teams are explicit about them because they know that if they don't actively shape their culture, one will form anyway. And the culture they get may not be the one they want. Consider the case of the Granite Mountain Inner Agency Hotshots. They were an elite team of firefighters who specialized in combating the worst, most out of control blazes. Now fighting disastrous wildfires is not for the fainthearted. And Team Leader, Eric Marsh took, it upon himself to hand select the best recruits he could find. He picks team members, who not only had the right skills but golden character as well. In interviews, he would even ask candidates questions like, when was the last time you lied? He also wrote a T manifesto that captured the level of courage and performance he expected of his hotshots. It read, why do we want to be away from home so much, work such long hours, risk our lives, and sleep on the ground a hundred nights a year? Simply, it's the most fulfilling thing any of us has ever done. We are not nameless or faceless. We are not expendable. We are not satisfied with mediocrity. We are not willing to accept being average. We are not quitters. You would think the hotshots would be the perfect high performing team, but no one would use the word perfect to describe the tragic outcome of their battle with a ranging wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona, back in 2013. As the fire threatened to over take the hotshots, they followed safety protocols they had learned, and retreated to a clear zone. But then, the firefighters tough culture took over, and they made the decision to go back in, breaking their own protocol, in order to keep fighting the blaze, even though they were putting themselves in unnecessary danger. The decision was courageous, but fatal, as 19 members of the crew lost their lives. What happened to the hotshots at that moment? Marsh had drilled them on the right safety procedures, but without being clear on when those procedures should override their motto of never quitting, that part of the culture took over. As one of the survivors would later report, if they could try to get back into the game they were going to. So the point is, if you were not consequently thinking about how to create and maintain the team culture you want, it they can get away from you. Wherever you sit in the team, whether you are winner or not, you have to be asking yourself, whether you are all clear on the formal and informal rules you are going to follow. The rest of this course is all about helping you create and maintain a high performing culture for your team. You'll learn how to make the rules your team wants to follow, to help you work together effectively. In the next clip we'll talk about one of the most important sets of rules a team can create, their goals.