How does your Club’s culture affect Volunteers?
Posted in: Articles
A club’s culture is made up of the values and beliefs of its members. A positive culture – where volunteers feel appreciated and supported – can help attract volunteers while a negative culture will do just the opposite. One of the challenges a club faces is creating a ‘contributing’ culture. This is where members take part in running the club rather than treating it as a service.
To understand how cultures can gradually emerge within an organisation, read the story of the Five Monkeys.
“There once was a cage that contained five monkeys. Also inside the cage hung a banana on a string with a set of stairs beneath it. Before long, a monkey went up the stairs towards the banana. As soon as he touched the stairs, the other four monkeys were sprayed with cold water.
After a while, another monkey approached the banana. When he reached the stairs, the other four monkeys were again sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when any of the monkeys climbed the stairs, the other monkeys tried to prevent it.
Then the cold water was turned off and one monkey was removed from the cage and replaced with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and attempted to climb the stairs. To his surprise, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack, he knew that if he tried to climb the stairs he would be assaulted.
Another of the original five monkeys was replaced with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and was attacked. The previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, a third monkey was replaced with a newcomer. The new monkey made it to the stairs but was attacked.
Two of the four monkeys that beat him had no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they were participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After the fourth and fifth original monkeys were replaced, all the monkeys that had been sprayed with cold water had been replaced.
Nevertheless, none of the monkeys approached the stairs ever again. Why not? Because as far as they knew, that’s the way it had always been around there.”