Wednesday, 17 May 2017

3 Ways to Build a Healthy Culture in UM Clubs and Societies in a Term

Culture is not something that is easily changed. This is especially true, seeing how fast a typical term cycle ends and changes hand to a new team every year – it is scary fast.

A hasty term simply means one thing – things come and go quickly, good and bad ones alike. Hence, there are many clubs and societies in the campus that enjoyed a short term spike in success, while many never get to breakthrough in years. Ultimately, this led to the problem where no one would like to take up leadership roles in clubs and societies every year.

And if you are experiencing this in your society, it is most likely that you are not alone. Many of the clubs and societies in UM face the same issue as well.

All of these inconsistencies and underperformance of clubs and societies boil down to one key aspect: Weak Culture. A weak culture within a club or society can be seen when members are not passionate to support their own initiatives, an unresponsive board of leaderships and the most obvious one being members complaining about being tired of their commitment in the organization – without a clear direction.

Bad cultures are easy to be plant, but good ones are relatively hard to build, especially in a term. However, it is not impossible to build a healthy culture among clubs and societies, here are some ways to do so:

1. Committed leaders and team

Here’s the major problem in UM’s clubs and societies: Team members and even leaders cannot give full commitment. However, it is the most important element needed to ensure the success of a club or society.

Junior members - While it is understandable that junior members would love to take part in almost EVERYTHING in their first year, but eventually this will backfire and in the end you will either just learn a tiny bit of everything or make yourself burnout.

Seniors and Board - The biggest issue among leaders is that they are not committed to their cause as many are involved in other initiatives as well. This cause many leaders to not being able to commit 100% to their society and in the end display a bad example to the junior members.

Takeaway: Set your priorities, leaders and team members alike. Or else, this bad cycle of commitment issues will keep on happening and never ends.

2. Strong Values and Goals

To establish a healthy culture in a club or society, leaders and team members must hold the same values and goals. Another problem with many clubs and societies in UM is that they have such a weak value and sense of purpose of their existence. Many clubs and societies are there just for the sake of being there.

Takeaway: From Day 1 of holding the pose, leaders should uphold the values and purpose of the society and convey the message clearly to the team. Lead by example, never lose your vision and direction and most importantly, pass down the legacy. Legacy dies along with a weak sense of purpose and values.

3. Embrace Different Constructive Voices

Running a club or society means that you are most probably there to serve and add values to your members. Hence, it is crucial to be open to different voices and opinions. Just like a country, people tend to get frustrated and angry when their opinions are not being heard by those who lead them.

Takeaway: Those who are in the board should start listening to the other in the team or the members. Most of the time, leaders tend to be too carried away by certain ideas that they start to slip off the initial direction. A healthy feedback system should be established within the club or society so that leaders are able to listen to constructive feedbacks and members are able to voice out their issues.

p.s. Voicing out your issues face to face is so much better than doing it behind. You get what I mean. *Wink Wink*

To end,

If there is any takeaway from my mistakes and experience in PEKUMA, it is definitely the importance of culture-building. A good culture is hard to build, and it is even harder to sustain. Many leaders always hope to build a good foundation for the coming term by organizing successful events yet the only sustainable way for any clubs and societies in long run is by establishing a healthy culture in the team. 

It is not impossible to build a healthy culture among the team in a term, but it requires both leaders and members alike to commit and work together with the same values. As they say, good things can only come in a two-way street.