Ball Hockey and Norquest Culture

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As promised, from time to time I would openly and authentically share an update on the cultural transformation at NorQuest. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. What follows shares another step. 

What This is About: You may recall that after an intensive four day boot camp in June, 25 Norquesters dubbed as Culture Champions, worked in small teams to conduct a massive listening campaign throughout the college over the summer and early fall. This included an open call and invite for personal interviews, targeted focus groups and a set of quick questionnaires to all team members. The listening template was based on a version of the 10 Elements for Building Extraordinary and Adaptive Cultures. As part of tying a bow on this focused listening process, we had our first version of the champions’ data analysis last week. They outlined and shared preliminary insights with each other and service/support colleagues, who also participated in the inaugural boot camp. During this same week, it is important to highlight that we had our 5th annual NorQuest Ball Hockey Tournament. This event, while not directly related to the listening process, is very connected to advancing our culture.

Why it’s Important: The most wonderful aspect of the culture champions process is that the college will forever be better because of it. The 25 champions have bound together in unique ways, and the college engaged in a total conversation about creating an even better workplace like never before. The cool thing is that transformation is less about how one transforms others, and more about transforming oneself. The champions will never be the same. They now symbolize real and metaphorical momentum, informed by the insight of 1,000 teammates. And their interviewed colleagues will be advanced from being heard. The movement will gain even more momentum as we transparently share insights with the entire college and engage the community in developing and taking forward, improvable action. How encouraging this is?

In parallel, and not fully appreciated by me until I observed it in action, was the ball hockey tournament. Picture students and staff mixed into self-selected teams, playing ball hockey outside in the cool autumn air, with a total sense of belonging, contribution and joy. It was so gratifying to see new Canadians from countries afar who have never held a hockey stick, playing with Canucks infused with decades of hockey DNA. We had one team where the goalie was blind and the rest of his teammates hearing impaired (the organizers shut the music off so the goalie could hear the special hockey ball). The spirit of this event represented so much that is already so exceptional in the college; inclusiveness, belonging, teamwork, learning, fun, care, positive competitiveness, and much more. 

Advancing culture includes adding to what’s missing AND building on what’s strong and defining. The Road Hockey Tournament is one important symbol of culture and togetherness to build on. (Also, a totally self-organized, volunteer event that raises money for our charity). When we start adding other dimensions into the system based on listening to each other, we become an unstoppable, extraordinary culture. 

Think Big , Start Small and Score More. 

- Lorne 

One Millennial View: Thanks for the update on the Culture Champions. Celebrating an event that encourages inclusiveness, teamwork and positive competition sounds like a hat trick in my books. 

- Garrett 

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Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


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